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Aug 10, 2021 at 6.30pm UK
ShakhtarShakhtar Donetsk
Traore (27'), Antonio (76')
Sudakov (42'), Trubin (71'), Vitao (90+2')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Dessers (90')
Lucumi (45+2'), Munoz (90+5')

Preview: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Genk - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Genk - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League clash between Shakhtar Donetsk and Genk, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

After a second-half comeback last week, Shakhtar Donetsk seek to finish the job against Genk at Kiev's Olympiyskiy Stadium, in Tuesday's second leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie.

Bringing a one-goal lead back from Belgium, the hosts will be confident of reaching the playoff round later this month - with a return to the group stage in sight.

Match preview

As they aim to at least replicate last season's Champions League campaign - in which they defeated Real Madrid both home and away, but were narrowly eliminated at the group stage - Shakhtar Donetsk got their 2021-22 journey underway with a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Genk last Tuesday evening.

After going toe-to-toe with the Spanish giants and testing themselves against Inter and Borussia Monchengladbach - just months after a run to the Europa League semi-finals - the Ukrainian Premier League runners-up were favourites heading into the tie, and predictably dictated much of the game at the Luminus Arena.

Though in-demand striker Paul Onuachu put the home side ahead shortly before the break, the Miners bounced back to secure victory in the second half. After Tete levelled up the game with a clinical spot-kick, nine minutes from time, Alan Patrick stole a crucial advantage; latching on to an assist from compatriot Ismaily.

Finally deposed as national champions last season, Shakhtar appointed charismatic coach Roberto De Zerbi as their new boss earlier this summer. Following a successful three-year spell at Sassuolo, the renowned tactician now takes up the challenge of steering his new club into the autumn phase of Europe's top club competition - and perhaps even further.

They are having to do it the hard way, as their four-year grip on the title finally loosened this year, allowing chief rivals Dynamo Kiev to take the league crown and an automatic berth in the group stage.

Though their attempt to regain domestic supremacy suffered a setback at the weekend - as they lost 2-1 at home to Oleksandriya - surely De Zerbi's men will fancy seeing off the challenge of their Belgian counterparts on Tuesday, given their experience and a slim but significant first-leg lead.

If Genk are to find a way back into this tie, it is likely to be Nigeria international Onuachu - who racked up 35 goals in all competitions last term - that unlocks the Shakhtar defence.

Having faced criticism for his under-par displays to start the new season - amid interest from clubs around Europe - his less heralded countryman Cyriel Dessers had been preferred by coach John van den Brom on several occasions, but Onuachu was back in the lineup last week.

His belated first goal of the campaign was inevitably followed by another in Genk's 2-1 league win over Kortrijk on Saturday, as a Daniel Munoz stoppage-time winner proved just reward for their dominance in all aspects of the game.

That late victory will have come as a major relief to Van den Brom, as his side were held to a 1-1 draw at Standard Liege on the opening day of the Belgian Pro League season, before falling to a frantic 4-3 defeat against Oostende.

Having lead both 2-0 and 3-2 before a late collapse - and following on from their Super Cup defeat to Club Brugge last month - the Blauw-Wit had not made an ideal start to the season, even before losing the first leg.

If Genk are to retrieve this tie and reach the playoffs, a place in the group stage for only a third time would be the prize, but the odds are stacked against them in the Ukrainian capital.

Shakhtar Donetsk Champions League form:
  • W

Shakhtar Donetsk form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Genk Champions League form:
  • L

Genk form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

New Shakhtar supremo Roberto De Zerbi has so far stuck to his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, as honed in Serie A, and will take the same approach on Tuesday.

The latest Brazilian to join the Miners' east-European enclave was centre-back Marlon, who followed his boss from Italy, and he should start in a back four for the hosts after being rested at the weekend. As Serhiy Kryvtsov has now overcome a knee injury, he will compete with Vitao and Mykola Matviyenko to partner the former Sassuolo man.

Doubts persist about the availability of star winger Manor Solomon, who was replaced at half-time in Belgium and subsequently missed the league defeat to Oleksandriya entirely. Therefore, either Pedrinho or young Mykhailo Mudryk could start at Shakhtar's adopted Olympiyskiy home; supporting Lassina Traore up front.

Meanwhile, Genk are expected to retain star striker Paul Onuachu up front, after his recent return to goalscoring form, but Cyriel Dessers offers a credible alternative for coach John van den Brom.

After his assist for Onuachu's first-leg goal, Japanese winger Junya Ito will again attack Shakhtar's defence from the right, with Theo Bongonda favourite to start on the opposite flank.

Fellow wide man Simen Juklerod is, though, ruled out with a muscular injury and may not return until next week at the earliest.

Shakhtar Donetsk possible starting lineup:
Trubin; Dodo, Marlon, Vitao, Kornienko; Maycon, Marcos; Pedrinho, Tete, Patrick; Traore

Genk possible starting lineup:
Vandevoort; Munoz, Cuesta, McKenzie, Arteaga; Heynen, Hrsovosky; Ito, Thorstvedt, Bongonda; Onuachu

We say: Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 Genk (Shakhtar win 4-2 on aggregate)

Vital years of European experience should get Shakhtar across the line, as they take one step closer to the hallowed group stage.

Genk already start on the back foot, and the prospect of taking the game to their hosts is not particularly alluring, given the Ukrainian side's ability to pick teams apart with fast attacking raids.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data

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