Shakhtar Donetsk and Monaco will clash on Wednesday, August 25, at OSC Metalist in Kharkiv in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League 2021 qualifications finals. The hosts won the reverse fixture 1-0 and will now look to keep the score intact as they take on the French side.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Monaco
When: Wednesday, August 25 – 22:00 EEST
Where: OSC Metalist in Kharkiv, Ukraine
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 23°C
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Shakhtar Donetsk have a 1-0 advantage from the first leg, which took place in Monaco. This means that in order to get to the Champions League for the fifth consecutive time, Shakhtar just needs to avoid losing. Can they do it? Let’s see!
Shakhtar Donetsk Determined to Get to the Champions League Again
Before the doubleheader with Monaco, Shakhtar played two games against Genk in the Champions League, winning each with 2-1. Then, in the first leg against Monaco, they won 1-0 in an away game.
It’s a great result, no doubt about that, but Shakhtar players must feel as if they could’ve done more since they were the dominant team from start to finish. Monaco did have more goal attempts, but Shakhtar took their chances better.
Obviously, Shakhtar take their Champions League matches very seriously. Another evidence of this is that their coach decided to rest most of his key men over the weekend.
In the game against Chernomorets Odesa, Roberto De Zerbi made 10 changes to Shakhtar’s starting XI. Nevertheless, they still had no problems winning that game with a commanding 3-0.
Knowing all this, betting on Shakhtar to win once again seems like a good choice. Actually, the only thing that might make you concerned about Shakhtar is that their first-choice goalie is injured. Instead of Anatoli Trubin, the man between the posts will be Andrij Pyatov.
However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Shakhtar. Although Trubin has been getting more playing time than Pyatov, the fact is that the latter has much, much more experience.
In fact, Pyatov is 17 years older than Trubin. Furthermore, he has featured in 71 Champions League games in his career, while Trubin has played in only eight.
Troubles for Monaco All Over the Place
Even though Monaco is one of the most expensive teams in Ligue 1, you wouldn’t be able to tell in looking at their results. In fact, they have managed only one point so far, with a draw in the first round against Nantes, but they ended up losing their next two games.
What’s really disappointing is that their opponents in those games were Lens and Lorient, who aren’t exactly heavyweights. Against Lens, Monaco players had the ball in their possession for 71% of the time but managed to make only two shots on target. Unfortunately, neither of those went in, so they ended up losing 0-2.
So, what’s going on with Monaco? No one knows, although many are blaming their coach, Niko Kovac.
The second-year Monaco manager is in the hot seat, not just for his team’s poor results but also for the apparent lack of discipline. Last weekend, we saw him getting a yellow card for complaining to the referee, which should make you wonder what’s happening behind the scenes.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Monaco Betting Pick
We think Shakhtar Donets will book a ticket to the Champions League. For that to happen, they don’t need to win; they just mustn’t lose. They were the better team last time out, and we fully expect them to be the dominant team in the second leg as well.
Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk +0.25 Asian Handicap – 1.94 at Betfair, 1.91 Betway, 1.90 Unibet, 1.89 Pinnacle
Don’t forget to check out our other UEFA Champions League betting preview for a match between Dinamo Zagreb and Sheriff Tiraspol. For more betting predictions, check out our premium page, where we post betting picks for football, tennis, esports, horse racing, golf, and more.