Our match prediction:
Shakhtar Donetsk suffered a shocking loss to Young Boys in the Champions League qualifiers, but the Miners quickly bounce back from the defeat. The Ukrainian outfit outplayed Istanbul of Turkey in the Europa League play-offs and they are widely expected to play an important role in Group H. Shakhtar Donetsk played out a 1-1 draw with Dynamo Kiev in the Ukrainian Premier League derby and it has to be noted that they dominated the game. Konyaspor, on the other hand, have yet to record a win in the new Turkish Super Lig campaign and we do not believe that they are capable of upsetting the star-studded Ukrainians in front home fans. Shakhtar are more of a team than Konya and we predict that the visitors are going to pick up all three points from Thursday’s football match. The two teams have never met before in European competitions.
Highligted Player (Bernard):
After spending three years at Atletico Mineiro, Brazilian winger Bernard signed a five-year deal with Shakhtar Donetsk for a fee of €25 million. The left-footed player won the 2013/2014 Ukrainian Premier League trophy with the Miners and he was part of the Shakhtar squad that clinched the Ukrainian Super Cup in 2015. Bernard is well known for his brilliant technique and he is considered one of the fastest players in the Ukrainian Premier League. The Brazilian footballer represented his homeland at the 2016 Copa America and he won the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013. Bernard made his Brazil debut on 21 November, 2012, coming as a substitute in the Superclasico de las Americas against Argentina. He represented Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and it has to be noted that he played all 90 minutes in an embarrassing 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-finals of the showpiece tournament. Bernard was born on 8 September, 1992 in Belo Horizonte.
Highlighted Team (Shakhtar Donetsk):
Despite the fact that they were founded back in 1936, Shakhtar Donetsk were struggling to win the Ukrainian Premier League trophy until 2002. The Miners have established themselves as the dominant force in Ukrainian football and it has to be noted that they won their ninth domestic trophy in 2014. Shakhtar Donetsk were playing at Donbass Arena in the past, but due to war in Donbass the club temporarily moved to Arena Lviv. In 2009 the Miners won the UEFA Cup trophy under Romanian boss Mircea Lucescu, beating Werder Bremen in the title game. Croatian full back Dario Srna was named the man of the match. Dynamo Kiev are considered Shakhtar Donetsk’s main rivals and there have always been fireworks in meetings between the two sides. Shakhtar have a rivalry with Metalurh Donetsk as well and the two local rivals face each other in the Donetsk Derby. Chelsea ace Willian, Manchester United star Mkhitaryan and Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho all played for Shakhtar in the past.