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Europa League: Schalke vs Shakhtar Donetsk preview

Kick-off: Thursday, 25 February @18:00 GMT

Venue: Veltins-Arena (Gelsenkirchen)

Live Stream: fuboTV (US), bet365 (non-US)

Head to head record

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Schalke 0-0 (2015/2016 Europa League)
Schalke vs Shakhtar Donetsk 0-1 (2004/2005 Europa League)
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Schalke 1-1 (2004/2005 Europa League)

Schalke vs Shakhtar Donetsk

Schalke and Shakhtar Donetsk played out a goalless draw in Ukraine in the Europa League last 32, first leg, meaning that both teams still have a chance to book their place in the next round. Veltins-Arena will host Thursday’s game between the two teams and it remains to be seen who will have a reason for celebration.

Home soil – big advantage

Schalke 04 impressed in the Europa League group stages, with the team finishing the process without suffering a loss. The Bundesliga side did well to play out a goalless draw with Shakhtar Donetsk at L’viv Arena in the last 32, first leg, meaning that they will have to go for a win in Thursday’s game at Veltins-Arena. Andre Breitenreiter’s troops played out a 1-1 draw with Stuttgart at the weekend and they are desperate to stop their run of three matches without a win when they take on Shakhtar Donetsk. Andre Breitenreiter has a number a number of high-profile players to choose from and it is well known that Schalke have turned their Veltins-Arena into a real fortress. Experienced forward Huntelaar is likely to keep his place up front, but you should bear in mind that the Dutch striker failed to score in previous three games in all competitions.

Benedikt Howedes, Marco Hoger, Atsuto Uchida and Erix Maxim Choupo-Moting all miss the game with injury, but coach Andre Breitenreiter has no other selection worries ahead of the visit of Shakhtar Donetsk.

Poor display in the first leg

Shakhtar Donetsk failed to impress in the L’viv Arena clash, but they managed to keep a clean sheet in the first leg and nothing else matters. This time out the Miners need to adopt an attack-minded approach as an away goal at Veltins-Arena would help them move one step closer to booking their place in the Europa League last 16. Coach Mircea Lucescu saw his key player Teixeira leave the club in the January transfer window and he was sorely missed in the first leg. Shakhtar Donetsk have yet to kick off the second half of the Ukrainian Premier League campaign and, taking everything into account, away win should not be considered this time out. Mircea Lucescu’s team struggle on the travels and the fact that they recorded their last away win in the Europa League on 5 November, 2009 is not giving the fans a reason for optimism ahead of the trip to Germany.

Vitaliy Vitsenets is out of contention through injury, while Olexandr Kucher misses the game through suspension. Fred is yet another absentee in the away team. Olexandr Gladkiy is likely to lead the attack for the visitors against Schalke.

Quick Facts

  • Schalke scored 1+ goals in each of their previous seven home games in the Europa League
  • Andre Breitenreiter’s team have yet to suffer a loss at home in the 2015/2016 EL campaign
  • Shakhtar Donetsk are on a seven-game winless run in the Europa League
  • The Miners had 10 shots on goal in the first leg
  • In their last meeting at Veltins-Arena Shakhtar recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over Schalke

Schalke vs Shakhtar Donetsk betting tip

Schalke produced a fine display in the goalless draw with Shakhtar a week ago and seeing that the Ukrainian side are not in their best form at the moment, home win appears on the cards. Andre Breitenreiter’s team are tough to beat at home ground and given that the German tactician can count on all of his key players for Thursday’s Europa League game, I believe that there is a big value in betting on the Bundesliga team.

Tip: Schalke to win

Odds: 1.75 (3/4) @BetVictor

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