Shakhtar Donetsk meets Basel at Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen as both teams look to book a place in the Europa League semi-finals.
Shakhtar enter this match looking to reach the semi-finals for only the second time since winning this competition in the 2008-09 season, whereas Basel are looking to advance from this stage for the first time since 2012-13 season when they lost to Chelsea in semis.
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Davit Khocholava is suspended for Shakhtar after being sent off in Wednesday’s second leg win over Wolfsburg in Round of 16.
Basel will be without goalkeeper, Jonas Omlin due to a muscle injury as Eric Ramires (unspecified) and Luca Zuffi (knee) also miss out.
Eray Comert is suspended for the Swiss club after he collected his fifth booking of the campaign last time out against Eintracht Frankfurt.
- This is the first Europa League meeting between these teams, although Shakhtar haven’t lost to Basel in three previous meetings in all UEFA competitions (W2, D1).
- Shakhtar Donetsk has kept just one clean sheet in their four Europa League matches this season.
- Fabian Frei has scored in each of his last three Europa League appearances for Basel, of which two goals came in the second half.
With a semi-final spot at stake, this should be an interesting clash between two solid European teams because Shakhtar looks the more attacking but Basel have often been defensively solid and frustrating to play against.
I therefore am expecting Shakhtar to come out and dominate but if they aren’t clinical with their shots, Basel should eventually punish them if they can force mistakes from Shakhtar in the closing stages.
This game realistically could go either way but I am going for a Shakhtar win because they look the more aggressive team, especially if compare their performances from last week whereas Basel looked more set up for defensive play until the closing stages.
Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Basel
Result: Shakhtar Donetsk 4-1 Basel