With Shakhtar Donetsk hosting Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 encounter on Wednesday, Goal.com's Carlo Garganese believes the Ukrainian side are still a potential dark horse in the competition despite the sale of star player Willian.
The Brazilian attacker completed a €35 million move to Anzhi Makhachkala at the beginning of the month and speaking alongside James Richardson and Goal.com International football writer Peter Staunton, Carlo said: "I think there are a few things that are working against them [Shakhtar], the winter break from December till March and the loss of Willian who is potentially a world class player.
"Although having said that their coach Mircea Lucescu has been there nine years now, they have nine of the team who played in the 2009 Europa League team so they're a very settled team plus the loss of Willian - he's been replaced with Taison who's a pretty handy player himself. They are still a potential dark horse in the competition."
Dortmund on the other hand have been able to keep hold of their key striker Robert Lewandowski but Peter Staunton is sure a potential transfer for the Pole to Bayern Munich or Manchester United may have caused some disharmony in BVB's dressing room.
"The word from Germany is that the very fact a transfer was mentioned caused a little bit of dischord in the dressing room as in maybe Robert Lewandowski's getting some opinions about himself and thinks he is too big for Dortmund and it's time for him to move on to a club like a Bayern Munich or a Manchester United.
"But I wouldn't get too far ahead of myself if I was Lewandowski because I still think he has some creases to iron out in his game. I think too often he missed chances he should be expected to score and he does tend to go missing as well and it took him a while to get his first goals of the season."
Do you think Shakhtar are still an outside contender for the Champions League despite the loss of Willian? Has talk of a potential summer exit for Robert Lewandowski unsettled the Dortmund dressing room?Let us know your thoughts.
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