Shakhtar defender makes RB Leipzig comparison after facing Celtic

By Lewis Laird

September 15, 2022

Shakhtar Donetsk defender Valeriy Bondar has stated that Celtic are currently better than Group F opponents RB Leipzig after facing both sides.

The Ukrainian champions have started their Champions League campaign off strongly, picking up four points in the opening two games.

Shakhtar’s standout performance so far came during their trip to Germany last week, where they defeated Leipzig 4-1 at the Red Bull Arena.

Photo by Cathrin Mueller/Getty Images

Although we knew the quality that Igor Jovicevic’s side was likely to pose, it came as a surprise to many to see Shakhtar run out such convincing winners over the club from the Bundesliga.

Celtic were wary of that threat going into Wednesday evening’s game against Shakhtar in Poland and came away with a point that looks like a decent result on paper.

But, with the performance that Postecoglou’s squad put in and the chances created on the night, it really could have been much more for the Hoops.

Having faced off against the two opponents who are likely to be challenging for 2nd and 3rd place, Shakhtar now has a better perspective of what they are up against in Group F.

Donetsk defender Valeriy Bondar has played the entire 90 minutes against both RB Leipzig and Celtic, and speaking after Wednesday’s match, the Ukrainian internationalist provided an insight into which of the two teams was harder to face.

The 23-year-old stated that going into their 2nd group game, they understood how tough a task it would have been and that Celtic was the harder opponent of the two so far.

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He said [Shakhtar Donetsk]: “I got a great impression of our today’s opponent. We completely understood that the match is going to be tough and prepared specifically for the meet with Celtic. 

“The coach emphasized that it will be more difficult than it was with RB Leipzig. Currently, this club is better than RB Leipzig, so we were very scrupulous about the game and did our best on the field. We did everything to win and to entertain our fans.”

Celtic have showcased their quality in Europe; it is now about turning that into points on the board.

Although the Bhoys may only have one point after two games, it is fair to say that we have shown our quality against Real Madrid and Shakhtar.

That being said, it isn’t just about putting in strong performances; it is also about getting the results needed to get out of the group in the Champions League.

Photo by Foto Olimpik/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Going into the final four group stage games across the next few months, I am sure Ange Postecoglou’s squad will be very hungry to turn those performances into results.

We have shown signs that we are more than capable of creating chances against teams at the top level in Europe. Now, we must improve and show we can convert them too.

With the praise we have received from both the Shakhtar players and their manager, you can’t imagine they will be looking forward to the trip to Celtic Park in October as the Hoops look to right the wrongs of the reverse fixture.

In other news, Jota provides honest Celtic Champions League admission (