Shakhtar Donetsk vs Celtic predictions: Bhoys to be edged out in Poland

James Mason
Spotlight
Igor Jovicevic's side have made a flying start to their Champions League campaign
Igor Jovicevic's side have made a flying start to their Champions League campaign

Shakhtar Donetsk will be hoping to maintain their perfect start to the Champions League campaign when they take on Celtic at the Polish Army Stadium in Warsaw on Wednesday at 5.45pm.

Due to the ongoing Russian military invasion in Ukraine, Shakhtar are playing their home European matches in Warsaw, but not being able to compete at their usual venue of the Donbass Arena should not pose a problem for the visit of Celtic.

The Bhoys may boast a perfect record in the Scottish Premiership this season, having won all six matches to sit five points clear, but the Champions League is another level and they may struggle to make it out of Group F.

Ange Postecoglou witnessed his side put in a valiant effort in a 3-0 loss to reigning champions Real Madrid last time out but the lack of cutting edge in the final third was apparent and that could spell disaster for them in this competition.

Team news

Shakhtar head coach Igor Jovicevic is set to name the same starting 11 that thrashed RB Leipzig 4-1 in their Champions League opener, with Marian Shved looking to add to the two goals he scored in that victory.

Full-back Viktor Kornienko is the only absentee as he continues to recover from a cruciate ligament rupture, an injury that is expected to keep him out until the start of 2023.

Celtic are expected to be without the injured pair of Yosuke Ideguchi and Carl Starfelt but Kyogo Furuhashi, who has six goals from as many Scottish Premiership games this season, is likely to come into attack in place of Giorgos Giakoumakis.

The stats

Shakhtar, who are in the Champions League group stage for the 17th time, are on a five-game winning streak across all competitions heading into Wednesday's contest and are aiming for a fifth straight victory.

Celtic suffered their first defeat of the season against Los Blancos last time out, ending an eight-game winning run across all competitions that stretched back to May this year.

The Bhoys have been dominant on the domestic scene so far this term, racking up seven victories and scoring an impressive 29 goals during this purple patch of form while conceding just twice.

Wednesday's contest will be the fifth meeting between the two sides, with all four previous clashes coming in the Champions League and the home team coming out on top in all of those.

Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou may have his work cut out when his team travel to Poland this week
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou may have his work cut out when his team travel to Poland this week

Prediction

Celtic have often struggled on their travels in Europe's top-tier competition, and they have only picked up two victories from their last six away games — those wins coming against Sarajevo and Nomme Kalju.

Coming away from Poland with a victory could prove to be a bridge too far for the Bhoys but they should be able to get on the scoresheet given the fact they have scored 29 goals this term and take on a Shakhtar outfit that has seen their defence breached in the last two games.

Still oozing confidence from that win over RB Leipzig, Jovicevic's men should have enough to make it a maximum of six points from their first two group games and it would be no surprise to see a home win with both teams to score.

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