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Sat Apr 19 16:48:44 SAST 2014

Shakhtar can beat Dortmund, says midfielder Mkhitaryan

Sapa-AFP | 14 January, 2013 12:010 Comments
Chelsea FC v FC Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Champions League
Willian of Shakhtar Donetsk celebrates after scoring their first goal during the Champions League match between Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk at Stamford Bridge on November 7, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Scott Heavey / Getty Images

Shakhtar Donetsk are capable of defeating Germany’s Borussia Dortmund to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the Ukraine champion’s midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan believes.

The two sides will face up to each other home and away in the tournament’s last 16 in February.

“Everyone knows that there are no weak opponents in the Champions League play-off round,” Armenian international Mkhitaryan, who last month was voted Armenian player of the year for the third time, told AFP.

“I think that both matches with Borussia will be very interesting as the clubs seem to be even and have equal chances of advancing.

“We will try to get a positive result against Borussia but I think it will be a really tough task, they are very strong opponents.

“And we need to stay concentrated throughout both matches with the German champions as even a single mistake against them can be fatal.” 

The 23-year-old Mkhitaryan said that Borussia, who trail 12 points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich on the homefront, will be doubly keen for success on the European stage.

“Borussia are a very good and experienced team led by a strong manager, who understands football really well,” he said.

“They are extremely dangerous on the counter-attack. They beat Real Madrid and Manchester City in their group and I have no doubts that we will need to perform at our top level to overcome them.” 

Mkhitaryan added that Shakhtar and their ambitious owner Rinat Akhmetov had set their sights high for this season.

“We are determined at the club to get the maximum result this season. In the Champions League we are aiming to win every single match remaining in the tournament. If we manage to do it we will win the tournament.

“We want to progress. If we manage to beat Borussia it will definitely be a success for us. Only after that can we start to think about our next opponents.” 

Shakhtar are currently top of the Ukraine league with 51 points from 18 matches, 13 points ahead of second-placed Dnepropetrovsk.

The league will resume on March 2 after the winter break.

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