Our match prediction:
It has been seven years since Shakhtar Donetsk won their last Europa League trophy and, no doubt, the Ukrainians are eager to repeat the success. The hosts have not been in action since 8 December, but they are definitely capable of making life difficult for Schalke in the Europa League first knockout stage. The bad news for the fans is that top scorer Alex Teixeira left the club in the January transfer window and we predict he will be sorely missed in the two-legged tie against the German outfit. Andre Breitenreiter’s men have yet to suffer a loss in the Europa League this season, but given that they have been struggling on the travels in the 2015/2016 Bundesliga campaign, we would not be surprised if they return home-empty handed. Mircea Lucescu has a number of top-class players to choose from, meaning that home win should be seriously considered.
Highlighted Team (Schalke 04):
Schalke 04 are a professional football club founded in 1904. Die Knappen (The Miners) compete in German Bundesliga and they have won seven domestic titles. Schalke have clinched five German Cup trophies as well, while lifting the UEFA Cup title in 1997. The German club defeated Italian side Inter on penalties in the title game and that was the last time the final of the competition was played in a two-legged format. Schalke 04 play their home matches at Veltins-Arena, the stadium that has been the home of the team since 2001. The capacity of Veltins-Arena is 62,271. It is well known that Borussia Dortmund are Schalke’s main rivals and the Ruhy neighbours face each other in the Revierderby. The likes of Klaus Fichtel (477), Norbert Nigbur (355), Rolf Russmann (304), Klaus Fischer (295), Olaf Thon (295) and Herbert Lutkebohmert (286) are the players with most appearances for die Knappen. The colour of Schalke’s home kit is blue.