Both Juventus, Shakhtar in form for Group E match


ROME (AP) -Juventus is unbeaten this season and in fine form heading into its first Champions League home match in three years, taking on a Shakhtar Donetsk team that is perfect this campaign with 13 wins from 13 matches.

Something will have to give in Tuesday night's Group E match at the year-old Juventus Stadium.

Juventus rolled to a 4-1 win over Roma this weekend, extending its league unbeaten run to 45 matches to be equal with Napoli for the Serie A lead.

Shakhtar has won all 10 of its Ukrainian Premier League games, plus the Ukrainian Super Cup - and knocked Dynamo Kiev out of the Ukrainian Cup. The club also defeated FC Nordsjaelland 2-0 in its Champions League opener.

In its first match, two-time winner Juventus came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at defending champion Chelsea, which visits Danish club FC Nordsjaelland in the other group match Tuesday.

Chelsea is looking to become the first team to retain the Champions League trophy, and wants to improve on its group stage record from last season, when it failed to win any away games.

Chelsea is unbeaten after six Premier League games to top the standings with 16 from 18 points.

Juventus went unbeatean to win Serie A last season when it wasn't playing in Europe. Facing a much tougher schedule this campaign, Juve looked tired in a 0-0 draw at Fiorentina on Tuesday but then bounced back to trounce Roma and old nemesis Zdenek Zeman.

"This was a performance we needed after that misstep in Florence," said Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco, who scored the fourth goal against Roma.

While Mirko Vucinic remains Juve's most consistent forward, manager Antonio Conte has a wealth of options, with Giovinco, Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Matri also finding the net recently. Nicklas Bendtner, on loan from Arsenal, hasn't played much.

Conte is serving a 10-month touchline ban for match-fixing violations stemming from when he coached Siena two seasons ago. Assistant coach Massimo Carrera has been filling in.

Shakhtar warmed up by beating Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 2-1 Friday with two goals from attacking fullback Olexandr Kucher.

"Dnipro are in good shape now, but Juve are Juve," Kucher said, according to "Let's not forget that it will be an away match against the Italian champions. The most admirable thing about Juventus is their stability. They are unbeaten in Serie A for a very long time. However, I don't want it to seem like we are scared. We are ready to fight."

Forward Mark Devic has labeled the match Shakhtar's "moment of truth."

"It's a great pleasure to win game by game, but we'll be judged by the matches against Juventus and Chelsea," Devic said. "They are the most important ones for every Shakhtar player."

While Shakhtar went winless in its first seven trips to Italy, the Ukrainian side beat Roma 3-2 in its last visit in the second round of the 2010-11 competition, followed by a 3-0 win in the return leg.

Lucescu is a familiar face in Italy, having previously coached Serie A sides Pisa, Brescia, Reggiana and Inter Milan. Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo had two spells under Lucescu, who promoted him to the first squad at Brescia before they joined up again at Inter in 1998-99.

In Copenhagen, Nordsjaelland will be making its home debut in the Champions League, and facing an English squad for the first time.

Spain playmaker Juan Mata scored one goal and set up another as Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1 Saturday.

Following Didier Drogba's departure, Chelsea is looking to develop a slicker style up front. With a raft of young and exciting attacking midfielders bought in during the offseason - such as Oscar, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses - the London squad is starting to interchange positions and possession more this season behind lone striker Fernando Torres, making the team better to watch.

"We have to try to improve, to change our style a bit from last season. We have had a good start and hopefully we can build on that," said Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo, who will be the subject of attention upon his return to Italy. "However, we know how much work we still have to do to integrate all of our new players and make them understand the system we want to play."

Frank Lampard was dropped to the bench against Arsenal and could be recalled in central midfield, while Daniel Sturridge is a doubt after missing the last four games with a hamstring problem, so Torres is the only fit striker.

"I've been resting last season too many games, so I'm fresh now," Torres said. "I am enjoying it more this season with the kind of players I have in the middle behind me."

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Biggest Stories



Most Popular

CBSSports Shop