Shakhtar Donetsk take on Basel in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals on Tuesday. The Ukraine champions have an abundance of Brazilian born attacking flair who are tipped to break Basel down in Gelsenkirchen.
Shakhtar Donetsk recently won their fourth straight Ukraine Premier League. Luís Castro’s side finished 23 points ahead of Dynamo Kiev, losing twice all season. Shakhtar are undefeated in their last 10 competitive matches, winning eight. They had a 2-1 first leg lead against Wolfsburg in the Europa League round of 16 and completed the job with a 3-0 home win. They were the better team but there was a scare when centre-back Davit Khocholava was sent off in the 67th minute. Fortunately Wolfsburg were reduced to 10 men three minutes later and Shakhtar took advantage. The Ukraine champions left it late by scoring three goals at the death. Junior Moraes scored in the 89th minute, Manor Solomon in the 91st with Moraes bagging his brace in the 92nd minute. Shakhtar Donetsk are missing injured defensive midfielder Maksym Malyshev and left-back Ismaily. Centre-back Davit Khocholava is suspended. Vitão and Valeriy Bondar are in line to replace him in the starting side.
Basel finished 3rd in the Swiss Super League, going undefeated in their final seven matches. They struggled to turn draws into wins in the final part of the season, drawing four of their last five league games. Marcel Koller’s side had a 3-0 lead against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League round of 16. They returned home on Thursday and won 1-0 in the second leg thanks to a late Fabian Frei strike. Basel goalkeeper Jonas Omlin is injured alongside midfielders Luca Zuffi and Ramires.
Shakhtar Donetsk have a superior side with their Brazilian born attack offering multiple threats. They came up against Man City and Atalanta in the Champions League group stage this season before dropping into the Europa League. Basel have proved hard to beat and were victorious against Getafe in both group stage matches this season. They were deserved winners against Eintracht Frankfurt but Shakhtar will prove a sterner challenge.
PREDICTION : SHAKHTAR DONETSK WIN 2-1
ACCUMULATOR TIP : SHAKHTAR DONETSK WIN EITHER HALF
SINGLE TIP : OVER 2.5 FT GOALS