Shakhtar Donetsk vs Napoli Prediction, Preview, Lineups, H2H & Betting Tips
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Napoli betting prediction for Wednesday’s (13 September 2017) UEFA Champions League Group F fixture in Ukraine. Shakhtar Donetsk and Napoli are both keen to extend their winning form after a Champions League clash in Kharkiv, where Ukrainian champions play their home games. Find out more in our detailed match previews, free predictions and betting tips.
Head-to-head History: Shakhtar Donetsk vs Napoli
The Champions League encounter on Wednesday night will be the first ever meeting between these two clubs.
Shakhtar Donetsk’s home record against Serie A sides is 3 wins and 6 defeats out of 9 games, while overall it is 4 wins, 2 draws, and 12 losses.
Napoli returns to Ukraine one year after a Champions League victory (1:2) against Dynamo Kyiv on matchday one. That was first win of the Partenopei in Ukraine and it came after a brace scored by Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik.
Napoli’s overall record against Ukrainian teams is 2 wins, 2 draws, and 2 defeats.
UEFA Champions League: Shakhtar Donetsk vs Napoli 13.09.2017
Shakhtar Donetsk missed out the last year’s Champions League group phase after losing to Young Boys in the third qualifying round, but they are back on the main stage now. This is Shakhtar’s seventh group stage appearance in eight seasons and their 12th overall – all since 2000. An impressive record by the Ukrainians who enter into this clash with confidence after six consecutive league wins.
Paulo Fonseca’s men are definitely in good shape and Wednesday night’s opener against Napoli can be potentially crucial for their further hopes. Bear in mind that Manchester City and Feyenoord are the other two Group F teams, making Man City and Napoli both main favourites for a round of 16 breakthrough. However, a win of Shakhtar over their Italian opponents can spoil all pre-season expectations and Paulo Fonseca must find the right approach to stop the in-form visitors.
Napoli are surely tempted to repeat their last season’s performance when facing Dynamo in Kyiv, however Maurizio Sarri’s side looks much stronger this time. Indeed, Napoli began its Champions League journey from the playoff round where The Gli Azzurri knocked out Nice with two wins (2:0 in Naples and in Nice), which came around three more Serie A victories.
These efforts are placing Napoli in the Champions League groups for the second year in a row, also sharing the Serie A’s top with rivals Juventus and Inter Milan.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Shakhtar Donetsk have held an intensive training session at Svyatoshyn, their training camp near Kyiv, before flying to Kharkiv on Wednesday. Unfortunately, Paulo Fonseca doesn’t have a fully fit squad as two Ukrainian internationals are sidelined due to knee injuries.
One of them is Maksim Malyshev who might not be a first-team player, but can be a reliable option when Fonseca wants to play a more defensive-minded physical presence in midfield. Malyshev will be out until end of the year with a cruciate injury.
Other missing name is defender Sergyi Kryvtsov who fractured his right kneecap in Saturday’s 3-1 win against Zorya Luhansk. He has been a key player so far in the campaign and Ivan Ordets, who just recovered from a heel injury, is the one who must replace Kryvtsov next to experienced Yaroslav Rakitsky.
Despite both aforementioned absentees, Paulo Fonseca has all other players available and the South American attacking trio Marlos, Bernard, Facundo Ferreyra, will cause the biggest threat for Napoli’s defense, supported by Viktor Kovalenko who attacks from second position.
Maurizio Sarri is expected to name his optimal starting formation in Ukraine, although there are some pretenders for more first-team football. Those are the midfielders Piotr Zielinski and Amadou Diawara, who both challenge Allan for a starting position, but Brazilian defensive midfielder looks favourite to start.
The only injured player in guests from Naples is Vlad Chiriches, who suffered an injury during a 0:3 success against Bologna at the weekend. Thus Raúl Albiol is ready to start as a partner of Kalidou Koulibaly, so we can’t say that Maurizio Sarri has some issues with his squad, not at all. Moreover, Napoli’s attacking quartet Marek Hamsik, Jose Callejon, Dries Merteens, Lorenzo Insigne, are all set to start and their fantastic skills like excellent ball control, passing, creativity, will put Shakhtar’s defense under serious pressure.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Napoli Prediction and Betting Tips
Napoli have a decent chance of getting their campaign off to a winning start on Wednesday. Shakhtar Donetsk have won just two of their last nine Champions League games, losing six of them. In the meantime Napoli have won three of their last five Champions League matches, which also includes two defeats against Real Madrid.
History is not playing on the field but we are quite sure that even if both teams find themselves in superb form, competition in the Ukrainian league is not so great for a proper warm up before kicking-off your Champions League quest.
We will place a bet on the away side – Napoli to win (1X2 Betting) over Shakhtar in Kharkiv.
Possible Lineups of Shakhtar Donetsk and Napoli
Venue: “OSK Metalist Stadion”, Kharkiv.
Referee: Felix Zwayer from Germany.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Andriy Pyatov – Darijo Srna, Ivan Ordets, Yaroslav Rakitsky, Ismaily – Taras Stepanenko, Fred – Marlos, Viktor Kovalenko, Bernard – Facundo Ferreyra. (4-2-3-1)
SSC Napoli: Pepe Reina – Elseid Hysaj, Raul Albiol, Kalidou Koulibaly, Faouzi Ghoulam – Piotr Zielinski, Jorginho, Marek Hamsik – Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne. (4-3-3)