BASLE - SHAKHTAR DONETSK
I have talked about Donetsk a lot over the last couple of years, they are constantly improving and after two consecutive seasons in which they have made the group stage of the Champions League,five in total, it is time for them to finally progress. I know that they are quite happy with their draw, with Barcelona and Sporting Lisbon also in the group. Last year they looked set for the breakthrough, especially after winning their two opening games, but after a gung-ho defeat in the San Siro, where they truly believed they would win, they seemed to lose confidence and fell away.
They are a strong, talented side, containing half a dozen Brazilians, european stars Razvan Rat and Darijo Srna and a Bolivian superstar in Marcelo Moreno, whom you should watch out for. They are owned by Rinat Akmetov, who is said to be europe's richest man, so money is not really a problem.
Experienced Shakhtar boss, Mircea Lucescu, speaking yesterday, seemed very confident : "Definitely, domestic league matches can’t be compared to the Champions League clashes. We know Basel quite well. The Swiss squad are physically strong. But I consider my side as more technically skilled. Every team tries to achieve good result at the beginning of the competition. The beginning will determine the entire campaign."
Hosts have 3-4 players missing and are likely to adopt a fairly negative approach, at level ball I am happy to take the visitors.
5.5 points Shakhtar level ball 2.16 asian line.