Shakhtar - Werder

Sukru Saracoglu stadium in Istanbul is the place where Shakhtar Donetsk and Werder Bremen will contest the last Uefa Cup final. Shakhtar hope to become the first Ukrainian side to win a European trophy since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Formal hosts, last season's Ukrainian champions, go into the game after thrashing Lugansk 3-0 away from home to clinch second place in this year's championship behind runaway champions Dynamo Kiev. That has secured a place in the third qualifying round of next year's Champions League. On the road to final, they eliminated Tottenham, CSKA Moscow and Olympique Marseille. In semi-final they passed their fellow citizens, mentioned Dynamo. In all those rounds, Ukrainian side was outsider. Tonight, for the first time they’ll be the favorites. They’re full of confidence and surely won’t luck in motivation (beside all competitive motives, I’m sure Rinat Akhmetov promised a more than lucrative reward for the trophy). Boss Mircea Lucescu has no problems with missing players. Aleksandr Kucher served his suspension ban, while Jadson is set to play despite a recent knock. Tomas Hubschmann is suspended, but he can be replaced, easily.

Werder want their first major European honor since the 1992 Cup Winners' Cup. As their European hopes in Bundesliga vanished, this will be the chance to save the season. Their performances in Uefa Cup were excellent and they fully deserved this final. They were better than: AC Milan, Saint Etienne, Udinese, but the sweetest victory came at the end, against their arch rivals Hamburger SV. Werder scored 15 goals on these 8 games, showing great force in attack. And there we come to reasons for Thomas Schaaf’s headache. The best player, team’s brain and playmaker on the pitch, leader in assists and one of the best scorers, Diego is suspended (going to Juve, btw.)! Werder definitely isn’t the same team without him. But, that’s just a beginning. Key striker Almeida is also suspended. Here Schaaf’s headache turns into migraine, Mertesacker and Jensen are injured and won’t play. Naldo, Pizarro and Rosenberg also have some injury problems and their appearance is under the question mark! Four keys won’t play and another three are in doubt. Enough for a panic attack. And enough to be declared as outsiders. I expect a cautious start from them where they’ll wait a chance from some set-up plays, or Özil’s run on the wing.

All those missings on German side gave a slight advantage to Ukrainians (bookies give slight to Germans, btw.). This is the final, no re-match, and many weird things happened already in such games. But, for me Shakhtar is closer to victory, odds are more than sweet (although in a drop) and simply feel Wiese will make another brutal mistake. Limited stake. Expekt and 888sport offer 2.70. Shakhtar to win.


Btw. Sandefjord 2 - 2 Rosenborg


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