Champions League draw: players’ view

Players of the Donetsk team have given their take on the opponents in the group stage.

Darijo Srna, Shakhtar’s captain:

- It is a tough group. It could not have been any worse, but it could surely have been better! But it is not our first Champions League campaign. I have long been looking forward to facing Real Madrid. It will be a pleasure to face such players like Modric, Ronaldo, Bale. There are two Croats, my friends. Therefore, I will be very pleased to play a match at the Santiago Bernabeu, especially since we have never played there. It is a hard group, but I believe in our team, I believe that we can advance further. We will try our best. During the draw, I spoke to Mario Mandzukic. He watched the draw together with Juventus players. He phoned me. We wanted to play against each other. Unfortunately, it did not happen, but we'll see. Maybe we will meet in the next round.

 Alex Teixeira, Shakhtar’s midfielder:

- What to say? A strong group! We will need to work hard and prepare well. I won’t name all the variants about which I thought before the draw, but was hoping that our group would be easier. Shakhtar are also a strong team! We may succeed.

Eduardo, Shakhtar’s forward:

- We have a good, strong team. There is a chance to advance to the next stage – everything depends on us. We need to work hard on the field. Shakhtar are lucky to have been drawn against two strongest clubs in the world. We have not met with these teams before, but I guess it is good, and we can show them how strong Shakhtar are.

Taras Stepanenko, Shakhtar’s midfielder:

- Yesterday we watched a video of the game that saw Malmo beat Celtic. We have a very difficult group. Naturally, there is no need for extra motivation ahead of these games. It is clear that in such matches players show their level. I hope we will compete the task set before us before and we will advance from the group. We will fight to the end, from the first to the last minute. And then we will see the result. The problem of groups with clear favourites is the pressure of the name: on opponents, on referees. The most important thing for a football player is to cope with the psychological factor. And if all goes well, we can beat even those teams, we just have to make every effort to do so. Of course, Shakhtar also have a name in Europe. But there are clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, who are supported by people around the world, who buy top players for big sums of money. These teams are considered the leaders of European football. Those factors create the pressure I was talking about. It is clear that there are no easy opponents in the Champions League. If we can advance from such a difficult group, then there won’t be anybody for us to fear. All clubs have equal chances of reaching the last-16.