Two frequent fixtures of the Europa League meet on Tuesday evening in the quarter-finals as Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk meet Swiss side Basel.
These two sides haven’t met in any competition since the 2008-09 season, when Shakhtar ran out 5-0 winners in the Champions League group stage, dropping down to the UEFA Cup and eventually winning it that year.
Basel are coming into this clash off the back of another underwhelming domestic season in which they finished a distant third place, 14 points behind the champions Young Boys. But they’ve performed well in this competition so far, and followed up a brilliant 3-0 win at Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt with another win in the long-delayed return leg last week, a 1-0 courtesy of a late winner from Fabian Frei.
Shakhtar as strong favourites here, at 5/6 with Paddy Power (3/1 for Basel), but they’ll have their work cut out to break down the Swiss side’s stern defence - they’ve kept clean sheets in five of their last seven matches in all competitions, and each of their last five in this tournament.
But the Ukrainian side will justifiably be confident of their ability to reach the semi-final, having demolished the domestic competition with a 23-point lead over runners-up Dynamo Kyiv in the end, winning 26 and losing just two matches in the league campaign, whilst convincingly making it past solid opposition - Benfica and Wolfsburg - after falling out of the Champions League.
Shakhtar returned to the Europa League with a statement 3-0 victory against the Bundesliga opposition last time out, making it 5-1 on aggregate, breezing into the quarters. But Davit Khocholava was sent off and all three of their goals came, remarkably, after the 89th minute after both sides had been reduced to ten men.
But Eray Comert is suspended for Basel, while they have a sidelined trio of players - Jonas Omlin, Luca Zuffi and Ramires.
We recommend backing Shakhtar to get a victory here. They’re priced at 13/1 with Betfair Sportsbook to record a second consecutive 3-0 win, but given Basel’s solid defensive record of late, we think it’s worth backing a tighter, low-scoring game - a narrow 1-0 win for Shakhtar is available at 13/2.
*All prices correct at the time of writing and subject to change
Shakhtar Donetsk to win 1-0 - 13/2 (Betfair Sportsbook)