Bayern won another game in impressive manner by crushing Hamburg in the domestic championship by eight goals to none. The more they play, the more obvious it becomes that they have no real contender in the Bundesliga this is only a training for the Champions League. Even here, they start as overwhelming favorites regardless of where the game is played and the same happens tonight when they travel to Ukraine. Shakhtar will be the ones opposing them but they don’t have reasons to be optimistic.
At least on paper, Shakhtar has home pitch advantage but the game is actually played in Lviv so the fans won’t be that numerous and the atmosphere less than impressive. Ukraine is troubled by conflict these days, with football being far less important for the inhabitants and this will be obvious in this fixture. The home side will still do its best to score goals and the former champions, but they don’t have the squad to do it and not playing in Donestk doesn’t help either.
In fact, Lucescu is expected to field a single striker because he needs five defenders and a strong midfield to maintain ball possession. Even so, the visitors will probably take the initiative and pass the ball around as they see fit, given the fact that Guardiola has practiced this strategy over and over again. Less than one week after scoring eight goals at home, the offensive is entitled to be cheerful and aim for a similar results, even if you were goals are scored.
Sorting qualification in the first leg is not that difficult and by scoring twice in Ukraine, the Germans will be more or less assured that they will be playing in the quarterfinals. They have no injured or suspended players, after resting those who were doubtful over the weekend and it is very likely for some of them to be pulled out in the second half. It all depends on the result at half time, but past performance suggest that they have what it takes to score an early goal.
The host will need to counter Bayern with direct attacks, because on the flanks they are outgunned and outplayed, so it will all come down to how the only striker performs. Shakhtar is under no impression that it could cause a major upset, but will defend its chances frantically, while aiming for a single point. If opportunity presents itself and the host get to score on the counterattack, then they will have at least your ethical chances of advanced the next stage.
The top priority would be to keep a clean sheet and this is the thing that punters should have in mind when betting on this match. The +1.5 Asian handicap on the home side is a bit risky but the odds are tempting and even value, so it makes sense to place such a bet.