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Preview: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Shakhtar Donetsk and Maccabi Tel Aviv, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Maccabi Tel Aviv travel to Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday evening looking to overturn a 2-0 deficit in their Europa League last-32 tie.

Away goals from Alan Patrick and Tete during last week's fixture in Israel have given the Ukrainian side full control ahead of the reverse leg.


Match preview

Shakhtar Donetsk coach Luis Castro in the Europa League on February 18, 2021© Reuters

While their early exit from the Champions League came as a blow to Shakhtar, it gave them an opportunity to have another extended run in this competition.

On paper, a two-legged tie versus Maccabi was one of the best possible draws for Luis Castro's side, and they took full advantage with a last-gasp second goal in Israel.

Castro will stress to his squad that they still have work ahead of them, particularly when taking into account that this game is just the fourth since Shakhtar's return to competitive action.

However, as well as their run of successive clean sheets stretching back to December 9, Shakhtar have only conceded one goal in their last eight encounters.

Such a return will not fill Maccabi with any confidence ahead of the trip to Ukraine as they bid to earn a rare place in the latter stages of a European competition.

Caretaker boss Patrick van Leeuwen would have felt that his side were still in the tie when only trailing 1-0 heading into added-on time last week.

Tete's 93rd-minute effort has changed the complexion of the tie, leaving Maccabi as heavy outsiders to reach the last 16 of this competition for the first time in their history.

Maccabi warmed up for this contest with a 1-0 win at Hapoel Be'er Sheva in the State Cup, extending their unbeaten run in domestic fixtures to 14 matches.

Shakhtar Donetsk Europa League form: W
Shakhtar Donetsk form (all competitions): WDWDWW

Maccabi Tel Aviv Europa League form: WLDDWL
Maccabi Tel Aviv form (all competitions): WWWWLW


Team News

Shakhtar Donetsk's Alan Patrick celebrates with teammates after scoring against Basel on August 11, 2020© Reuters

Barring any late fitness issues, Castro could name the same side which started the first leg at the Bloomfield Stadium.

Castro rested a number of key men during the second half against Rukh Vynnyky on Sunday, giving him little reason to bring in fresh legs.

Having made widespread changes at the weekend, Maccabi boss Van Leeuwen is expected to recall the players who were handed a rest.

Matan Hozez was only used as a substitute against Be'er Sheva, an indication that the attacker could replace Dan Biton on Thursday night.

Shakhtar Donetsk possible starting lineup:
Trubin; Dodo, Kryvtsov, Vitao, Matvienko; Marlos, Stepanenko, Patrick; Solomon, Moraes, Taison

Maccabi Tel Aviv possible starting lineup:
Tenenbaum; Geraldes, Hernandez, Tibi, Saborit; Glazer, Peretz; Hozez, Rikan, Ben Haim; Pesic


SM words green background

We say: Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 Maccabi Tel Aviv

With little option but to go in search of away goals, we expect Maccabi to come out firing on all cylinders. However, a bold approach in Shakhtar's own backyard is a risky strategy, and it would be a surprise if the home side do not cruise through to the last 16.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:curl


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Who will progress through to the Europa League last 16

Shakhtar Donetsk
94.5%
Maccabi Tel Aviv
5.5%
128
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Dynamo Kiev15104129121734
2Shakhtar DonetskShakhtar1596035112433
3Desna ChernihivDesna167632314927
4Zorya LuhanskLuhansk1475226111526
5Vorskla PoltavaVorskla166732314925
6FC OleksandriyaOleksandriya166462421322
7Kolos KovalivkaKovalivka165742118322
8Olimpik DonetskOlimpik Donetsk145272125-417
9MariupolMariupol164571623-717
10Dnipro-1Dnipro-1164392230-815
11FC LvivLviv143381029-1912

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