Shakhtar Donetsk kick-off their Champions League campaign in the third qualifying round with a trip to Belgium where they’ll face Genk. The two sides have never met before, but the Ukranians have lost only one out of 12 clashes against Belgian sides and enter this two-legged tie as strong favorites.
Where and when: Luminus Arena – 3 August, kick-off 19:00
Where you can see Genk vs. Shakhtar Donetsk: N/A
Last time: These two sides have never met before, so the game on Tuesday will be the first clash between them.
Genk vs. Shakhtar Donetsk Predictions and Preview
Genk host Shakhtar Donetsk in the third qualifying round of the Champions League on Tuesday in an attempt to reach the Group stage for the first time since 2019.
The Belgians’ only meeting against Ukrainian clubs in Europe was back in 2013, when they shared the same group with Dynamo Kiev. The Smurf won both games and progressed through their group, but they’ve never faced Shakhtar.
John van den Brom’s men finished forth in Belgium’s A Division last term, but have been far from convincing in their preparation for the two-legged clash against Shakhtar. The Belgians have one just one of their last six games and suffered a disappointing 3-2 defeat against Brugge in the domestic Super Cup final.
Genk started off with a draw their domestic campaign, as Theo Bongonda’s last gasp equalizer earned them a point. Paul Onuachi who scored 35 goals last term has started off slowly and is yet to find the back of the net, but he’ll have to step up if Genk are about to cause an upset against Shakhtar.
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Shakhtar to win
Traore to score first
The Ukranians, meanwhile, are still getting used to Roberto De Zerbi’s ways and have been rather inconsistent in their pre-season preparation so far. The former Sassuolo tactician insists on a particular way of playing, so both him and the players will need time to put his ideas to practice.
Shakhtar won two, drew one and lost once in the four friendlies they played, while they also won their domestic league opener by 2-1 against Inhulets. Lassina Traore has been the star signing for the Ukranians this summer after completing a €10 mln move from Ajax and the 20-year-old broke the deadlock in that game.
At 11/8 Shakhtar are slight favorites to emerge victorious from their trip to Belgium. The draw is priced at 21/10, while you can place a bet for a Genk victory at 19/10.
One to watch for Genk: Paul Onuachu had a sensational campaign last term, netting 35 goals in 41 appearances for Genk. The Nigerian international is a force to be reckoned with in the penalty area
One to watch for Shakhtar Donetsk: Lassina Traore only joined Shakhtar this June, but the 20-year-old already hit the ground running. The ex-Ajax forward scored the opener on his official debut, so he is a one to watch in the first scorer market.
Long shot: Three out of the last four games that Shakhtar played ended 2-1, with the Ukrainian vice-champions winning two and losing one of those. Backing up the same result seems like a logical choice, so you can bet on Shakhtar to win by 2-1 at 8/1, while a 2-1 victory for Genk is priced at 10/1.