Preview: Sheriff Tiraspol vs Shakhtar Donetsk – prediction, team news, lineups
Two teams that battled for Champions League qualification to reach the 2021-22 group stage will meet on Wednesday night when tournament debutants Sheriff Tiraspol welcome Shakhtar Donetsk to the Bolshaya Sportivnaya Arena. Sheriff Tiraspol vs Shakhtar Donetsk live stream, Sheriff Tiraspol vs Shakhtar Donetsk channel, Sheriff Tiraspol vs Shakhtar Donetsk tv USA, Sheriff Tiraspol vs Shakhtar Donetsk where to watch, Sheriff Tiraspol vs Shakhtar Donetsk live, Sheriff Tiraspol vs Shakhtar Donetsk today, Sheriff Tiraspol vs Shakhtar Donetsk prediction, Sheriff Tiraspol vs Shakhtar Donetsk h2h.
This will be the third meeting between the two teams in the European competition, with the Ukrainian team undefeated in their two previous matches during the 2003-04 Champions League qualifying round.
There is a new Sheriff in town, as the Moldovan champions became the first team from their nation to qualify for the Champions League, or previously known European Cup when they took a 3-0 aggregate victory against the Dinamo Zagreb last month.
The Yellow-Blacks play in the Moldovan National Division, although, interestingly, the club is located in a breakaway state called Transnistria, near the border with Ukraine, which is currently not recognized as an independent nation.
Sheriff, a business group led by company owners Viktor Gushan and Ilya Kazmaly, formed the Sheriff Tiraspol football club in 1997, which has since dominated Moldova’s top flight, winning 19 titles in the last 21 years.
The Yellow-Blacks, who have previously competed in the group stage of the Europa League four times, have tried and failed many times to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition. However, this year, they can finally put themselves to the test among the greats, with six disappointing group stage matches against 13-time champion Real Madrid, three-time winner Inter Milan and Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk, who are their first opponents on Wednesday.
Yuriy Vernydub’s team enters their first group match after claiming 12 points of their first 15 available in their national league. Sheriff has also been solid defensively keeping a clean sheet in each of his last five games in all competitions.
Realistically, the Sheriff is not expected to advance to the knockout stages, although if they are to claim points in Group D, their two games against Shakhtar will be the ones they should be aiming for.
After failing to make it past the Champions League group stage in each of the last three seasons, Shakhtar Donetsk hopes to reach the knockout rounds this season, and while both Real Madrid and Inter Milan are on their way. group for the second year in a row, claiming a spot in the top two in Group D is not out of the question.
Despite falling at the first hurdle last year, the Ukrainians surprised many after achieving an impressive double over Los Blancos, as well as securing two goalless draws against the Nerazzurri. However, two heavy defeats to Borussia Monchengladbach by a 10-0 aggregate scoreline ensured that the Germans advanced to the knockout rounds at their expense.
Replicating such impressive performances against Real and Inter will be necessary once again this season if they want to escape their group, as well as scoring early points on the board against a side of Sheriff Tiraspol, to whom they have never lost or conceded.
Shakhtar are off to a good start to the new national campaign, with five wins and one draw in their first seven matches in the Ukrainian Premier League.
The Hirnykys head into Wednesday’s game undefeated in their first five competitive away games so far this season, which includes a narrow 1-0 win against Monaco, whom they beat 3-2 on aggregate in the playoffs in the Champions League.
Former Sassuolo head coach Roberto De Zerbi is now at the helm and will make his first appearance as a coach in the Champions League this season; none of the last eight Italian coaches have lost their first match in the competition.
Shakhtar cannot take Wednesday’s opponents lightly, although they are expected to come out with three points at the Bolshaya Sportivnaya Arena.
Sheriff Tiraspol’s defensive midfielder Moussa Kyabou and forward Lovro Bizjak are out due to injury, but otherwise Vernydub has a fully fit squad to choose from.
The Ukrainian head coach will stick with a 4-2-3-1 formation, which will likely see Luxembourg international Sebastien Thill start alongside Edmund Addo in deep midfield roles.
No Sheriff’s player scored more goals in the Champions League qualifiers than Adama Traore (four), with three of the Malian’s four goals at home. He is expected to start on the right flank with Frank Castañeda to operate on the left-wing.
As for Shakhtar, experienced forward Junior Moraes and goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin remain out with knee injuries.
Winger Dodo is currently serving a national suspension, although the 22-year-old can play on Wednesday and is scheduled to start on the right-back ahead of Yukhym Konoplya.
Brazilian trio Maycon, Alan Patrick, and Marcos Antonio have played predominantly central midfield so far this season and all are expected to start against Sheriff.
Since the start of the 2019-20 season, no player has scored more as a substitute in the Champions League than Manor Solomon (three). The Israeli winger, however, could be in line to start midweek, playing alongside Tete and Lassina Traore in a three-man attack.
Sheriff Tiraspol possible starting lineup:
Athanasiadis; Cristiano, Arboleda, Dulanto, Costanza; Addo, Thill; Traore, Kolovos, Yansane; Luvannor
Shakhtar Donetsk possible starting lineup:
Pyatov; Dodo, Vitao, Marlon, Matvienko; Maycon, Antonio, Patrick; Tete, Traore, Solomon