Betting Tips UCL: Shakhtar Donetsk v Bayern Munich

By on February 18, 2015

Shakhtar Donetsk will host German champions Bayern Munich at the L’viv Arena on Tuesday night, for the first leg of the round of 16 phase, in what will be the first ever meeting between the two sides.

Shakhtar Donetsk will be pleased at the idea of some competitive football with the Ukrainain side only participating in friendlies since December. They will be playing this game under difficult circumstances however as they will not be able to play at the Donbass Arena due to security concerns and will have to play out the current campaign at a neutral venue in L’viv. Mircea Lucescu will have some worries about his player’s match fitness and competitiveness ahead of this game and will have no doubts about his side being the under dogs here. But maybe that is something they need in a big game like this. Lucescu knows that his side’s chances of going through to the next phase are slim, but he will be hoping that they can put up a good performance in the home leg to atleast lift the player’s morale. He will have one eye on Bayern Munich’s game aginst Wolfsburg though, and if Lucescu can take lessons from that game and form a compact defensive unit in this game, then they could hit Bayern on the counter, utilizing the pace of Taison and Douglas Costa and maybe get a good result. Anything short of a loss will be a good result for Shakhtar.

Shakhtar Donetsk have been in decent form recently having won two of their last five games in all competitions while losing one and drawing the other two, although all of those games were friendly and the have not played a single competitive game since their game against Porto in the Champion’s League. Shakhtar have never won a Champions League game against a German side (D2 L2)

Bayern Munich are one of the favorites to lift the title this season. They did well in last year’s campaign as well where they reached the semi finals only to be knocked out by Real Madrid. This season though, Pep Guardiola will be hoping that his side can finally find the rhythm to go all the way and lift the title. Bayern Munich have been playing at a much higher tempo this season which was evident in their recent thumping of Hamburger SV. That game really signifies how Guardiola has added a lot more pace in their buildups and much of it is down to the addition of Xabi Alonso and the shift in David Alaba’s role in midfield. If they start this game with the same high tempo, then there is no doubt that they can get a win in this game and might even be able to kill the tie in the first leg as Shakhtar have not played a single competitive game since December and could be off the pace. They are playing this one away from home but could be too strong for the Ukranian side. Bayern Munich have been affected by injuries this season with Guardiola very rarely being able to deploy his favored starting XI. But with a lot of versatile players at his disposal, the Bavarians have done well to keep performing despite the injuries.

Bayern Munich have been in good form in recent weeks having won three of their last five games while drawing one and losing the other. That loss came against Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga where the Bavarians were at the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline. Their last game was the 8-0 thumping of Hamburger SV at the Allianz Arena. Bayern have won 5 of their last 6 matches in the Champions League.

Shakhtar Donetsk have no real injury worries ahead of this game but they will be without Taras Stepanenko who is suspended. Apart from that, Mircea Lusescu has a fully fit squad to chose from. He will be relying on the current top scorer Luis Adriano to inspire a good perforance.

Bayern Munich will have a few absentees ahead of this game. Javi Martinez, Philipp Lahm and Thiago Alccantara will miss out due to injuries while Franck Ribery is doubtful and will be assessed closer to kickoff. David Alaba is expected to start alongside Xabi Alonso in midfield with Rafinha and Bernat playing as fullbacks. Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze are expected to start this one.

DATE: February 17, 2015

TIME: 7:45 PM GMT

VENUE: L’viv Arena, L’viv

PROBABLE LINE-UPS:
Shakhtar Donetsk (4-2-3-1):- Pyatov; Shevchuk, Rakitskiy, Kucher, Srna; Fernando, Fred; Taison, Teixeira, Costa; Adriano
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1):- Neuer; Bernat, Boateng, Benatia, Rafinha; Alaba, Alonso; Gotze, Muller, Robben; Lewandowski

LAST MEETING: N/A

RECENT FORM:
Shakhtar Donetsk:- W D W L D
Bayern Munich:- W W D L W

AUTHOR’s PREDICTION: Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Bayern Munich

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