Shakhtar Donetsk take on the visitors Porto in the round 1 match of UEFA Champions League group stage. The match will be played on Tuesday, September 19th at
Shakhtar have started the new season with another new coach. The Orange and Blacks were in a very challenging situation a year ago. They had always relied on talented, promising foreign players, but last year, with rare exceptions, these players scattered. Furthermore, their coach, De Zerbi, left. Thanks to Jovichevich for taking on the job with the miners. And it was successful: the newly assembled team won against RB Leipzig in the fall and then almost repeated it against Real Madrid – Rudiger equalized in the final attack. They also played to draws twice with Celtic. As a result, they finished in 3rd place, which was an improvement compared to the previous season under De Zerbi. In the Europa League, after selling Mudrik to Chelsea, Shakhtar made it to the playoffs against Rennes, but then came Feyenoord, and despite a draw in the formal home match, there was a heavy defeat in Rotterdam. This was unforgivable for Igor, and even winning the challenging race in the UPL for the championship did not save his position. He was replaced by Van Leuven, who had previously headed the academy in Donetsk and worked with Zorya last season. He started well in his new position, but that's domestically. Let's see what happens now.
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Porto are in need of success. The Dragons remain one of the strongest clubs in Portugal. However, last season, Benfica managed to finish in 1st place and take the title thanks to a strong start in the Primeira Liga. Interestingly, this pattern of alternating titles between the two giants has occurred several times in recent years – gold in Portugal is strictly won in odd years. Moreover, in this football year, after the summer break, and selling Otavio to the Middle East for a significant sum of 60 million, Sergio Conceicao's team hasn't performed impressively. They started the season with a 0-2 loss to their historic rival, Benfica. Furthermore, in the national championship, they've only managed a 1-1 draw with Arouca.
In 2011, the Dragons won both matches during the group stage of the Champions League. Three years later, the two sides played to two draws. Tripairs are seen as clear favorites, as indicated by the odds. However, let's settle for a neutral prediction of total goals over 2.5.
Prediction for the match: Over 2.5 scored goals.