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Dec 20, 2012

Dortmund expect tough Shakhtar tie

Borussia Dortmund CEO Aki Watzke said Shakhtar Donetsk were not the club's "preferred opponents" for the Champions League second round but is confident his team can triumph.

• Champions League draw

Dortmund and Shakhtar both excelled during the group stages, with the Bundesliga winners finishing ahead of Real Madrid, Ajax and Manchester City in the 'Group of Death' and the Ukrainian champions qualifying for the second round ahead of Chelsea.

Both teams have been tipped as potential dark horses for the competition and Watzke said: "They are not our preferred opponents. It is going to be a difficult task, but during the group stage we proved that we can overcome strong opponents."

With the ties to be played in February, Watzke feels the calendar may provide Dortmund with an "advantage", given that the Bundesliga resumes on January 19 after its winter break, while the Ukrainian Premier League does not restart until March 3.

Nonetheless, Dortmund general manager Michael Zorc feels it represents a tough test for his team, who were this week drawn against Bayern Munich in the DFB-Pokal quarter-finals.

"First Bayern in the cup, now Donetsk in Champions League," he said. "The fact that they stopped Chelsea progressing from the group stage shows what they can do. This is a challenge for us! We will give all we have."

Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp added: "[It is] the two surprise packages of this year's Champions League against one another. We can beat them, no question, but a lot of things need to go according to plan in our game."

Midfielder Kevin Grosskreutz said he had been hoping to face Celtic and is wary of Shakhtar.

"This is not an easy opponent," he said. "They are good at defending and have strong players up front, and the weather will also not be on our side. If we can play the kind of football we have in Champions League so far, though, we can go through. Donetsk will also be unhappy with the draw."

Before the draw, the Shakhtar website had conducted a fan poll to ask which team they would like to meet in the second round. Dortmund collected the fewest votes, with only 3.47% favouring a meeting with the German champions.

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