Los Blancos are currently top of Group F, boasting nine points from their three matches, and they would book their spot in the knockout round of the competition with two games to spare if they overcome Shakhtar.
However, Real Madrid will have one eye on this weekend’s El Clasico with Barcelona, with both teams picking up 22 points from their opening eight matches of the 2022-23 La Liga campaign.
Ancelotti has selected a strong squad for this match, with Karim Benzema back in the selection, while Eder Militao is also included despite an injury scare against Getafe on Saturday.
However, the Italian has hinted that he will rest some of his key players, with Vinicius Junior one of those potentially given a break from the first whistle, but Benzema, Toni Kroos and Ferland Mendy have been confirmed as starters in the European affair.
“The question is good, it is very complicated because the players get angry and each one in their own way. But the reaction of everyone in this group is very positive, to be more focused and focused on work,” Ancelotti told reporters when asked about possible rotations.
“No one has lowered their arms so far. In the end, they are very respectful of the decisions I make, that’s the most important thing. I respect the person, although you may get angry with the coach.
“Vini is one of the players I must evaluate because he has played every game, today’s trip… it has to be evaluated. Karim is fine and it is clear that tomorrow he starts, with Kroos and Mendy, who are fresh and are going to play.
“I give the line-up two hours before, as always, because that’s when we do the technical meeting. Nothing has changed. The fact that we get to the stadiums earlier has changed everything a little. I don’t mind keeping the line-up secret, because in today’s football there is no secret.”
Ancelotti has hinted that Eden Hazard could feature against Shakhtar, with the 31-year-old bidding to make just his fifth appearance of the campaign.
“Hazard may or may not play tomorrow. The lineup is not very clear to me, yet. Those who have not played yet will definitely play. I will evaluate the matter with the technical staff and the medical staff,” the Italian added.
“The challenge is to recover the players well, evaluate them, today’s training is important. And then hit the eleven to win the game. It’s a great opportunity and we want to get done with the group stage tomorrow.”
Real Madrid will play another six games before the end of October, facing Shakhtar and RB Leipzig in the Champions League, in addition to taking on Barcelona, Elche, Sevilla and Girona in Spain’s top flight.
Los Blancos beat Shakhtar 2-1 in the reverse group game at Bernabeu last week, with Rodrygo and Vinicius on the scoresheet in the Spanish capital.