Matchday Two of UEFA Champions League action gets going on Tuesday of this week, and it will offer up some scintillating affairs.
One of the more intriguing match-ups takes place in Group B action where Inter Milan will travel to Ukraine to take on an in-form Shakhtar Donetsk side.
Of course, last week Shakhtar somehow found a way to defeat Real Madrid, and have now made Group B qualification a possibility. A reminder that two of the four teams in each group will progress to the knockout stages. After stifling Real Madrid, the Ukrainian side will look to do so once again to one of Italy’s best in Inter Milan.
The Nerazzurri drew Borussia Monchengladbach 2-2 in a thrilling affair last week. While Inter looked dangerous going forward, they remained suspect at the back – a prevailing theme for Antonio Conte’s side. With Shakhtar in good form, it will be interesting to see if Inter can use their experience and skill to dispose of their pesky opponents.
With Shakhtar winning last week in unexpected fashion over Real Madrid, it’s really thrown this group upside down. Shakhtar were supposed to finish last, but a shock defeat has them thinking of qualification. Can Inter Milan put them back to reality? Or will the Ukrainians continue their impressive run of play? Read on beneath the posted odds for a full match breakdown, tactical analysis, and a betting prediction for this Champions League encounter.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Inter Milan Betting Odds:
Shakhtar Donetsk (+375)
Inter Milan (-180)
Over 3 (-125)
Under 3 (+100)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Inter Milan Pick:
One of the things that made Shakthar’s triumph over Real Madrid last week so impressive, was the fact that manager Luis Castro’s side were down six regular starters. This week, while some relied upon players will return, they’re still quite weakened in terms of first-teamers.
Expect Shakhtar to play a 4-2-3-1 formation, simply looking for a defensive game and allowing their opponent all the possession they crave. They’ll be primarily focused on keeping their shape without the ball, and striking at Inter on the counter-attack, the same approach that was successful last week vs. Real Madrid.
Whether or not that strategy will work remains to be seen, as Antonio Conte and his Inter side have seen how the Ukrainians play, and will surely be ready. Much like their opponents, Conte’s team will also be without roughly six first-teamers. With COVID-19 infections ramping up in Italy, Inter Milan has not been spared.
Still though, the Italian side boasts very impressive depth – far superior to Shakhtar and really shouldn’t miss a beat up front. They’ll be led by Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez at the striker position – a formidable duo that Shakhtar will certainly have their hands full. Playing just behind them will be the talented Dane, Christian Eriksen. His creativity should really play well in what’s likely going to be a tight encounter.
While Shakhtar did well last week and enter as the early leaders in Group B, that bubble is about to be popped in a big way come Tuesday afternoon. Shakhtar are old and weak within their defense, and Inter’s skill and creativity in the final third should unlock them with ease. Despite injuries, the depth of Inter Milan should shine through – and with a victory needed, Inter are a great bet to secure the full three points on Tuesday.