Against all odds, Shakhtar have failed to pick up a single point from first three matches and they are in desperate need of a morale-boosting victory.
The Pitmen could even keep their qualifying chances alive with a win over Malmo FF, but they will have to improve on their performance from the 1-0 defeat in Sweden.
Age Hareide’s charges have a perfect opportunity to secure a Europa League berth and maybe even challenge a top 2 position, although they need to try and recover from the weekend’s loss to Norkopping.
First choice goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov should return to the side after missing the last two games, but centre-back Oleksandr Kucher is expected to miss out.
Coach Mircea Lucescu is sweating over the fitness of Taison and Vyacheslav Shevchuk, with the 36-year-old full-back unlikely to start.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Pyatov – Srna, Krivtsov, Rakitiskiy, Ismaily – Fred, Stepanenko, Bernard – Gladkiy.
Zlatan Azimovic, Nikola Djurdjic and Guillermo Molins are all expected to miss out through injury, but Vladimir Rodic should return to the side.
Malmo FF had both Markus Rosenberg and Franz Brorsson sent off at the weekend, but they are obviiusly available for selection in the Champions League.
Probable starting line-up (4-4-1-1): Wiland – Tinnerholm, Arnason, Bengtsson, Konate – Rodic, Lewicki, Adu, Berget – Eikrem – Rosenberg.
-Shakhtar Donetsk and Malmo FF had never met ahead of the clash in Sweden two weeks ago that the hosts won 1-0
-The match is played at L’viv Arena in L’viv, rather than at Shakhtar’s regular home venue Donbass Arena
-The has been the worst ever start for the Pitmen to a Champions League campaign, having lost the first three group matches
-Shakhtar also failed to score a single goal in the process, albeit scoring 14 in last three matches on domestic stage
-Attacking midfielder Alex Teixeira has 18 goals in 12 league fixtures this term
-Malmo FF’s domestic season just finished. They ended up in 5th place with 54 points from 30 games
-The Swedish side have lost each of four group stage games in club’s history
-Malmo FF have eight defeats in last nine away matches in CL, counting the qualifying rounds as well
Champions League Group A Standings
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Malmo FF prediction
The Pitmen have got a lot more potential than they have shown so far and with two impressive wins on domestic stage behind them, they should have enough in them to see off Malmo FF. The visitors are missing some important players and they will struggle to stop the red-hot Alex Teixeira and his attacking teammates. Our recommendation is to back Shakhtar for a half-time/full-time win.