Shakhtar Donetsk – Hoffenheim SOCCER PICKS
Hello, start the group stage of the Champions League 2018. I focus on this occasion in Group F, specifically the match between Ukrainian Shakhtar and German Hoffenheim. My forecast for this match is that the victory stays in Ukraine.
1) The main argument is that Shakhtar is 1 month more shot than Hoffenheim. The league in Ukraine starts in mid-July and that means that the preseason starts at the end of June, so while in Germany they have only played for 3 days in Ukraine they have already played 8 matches.
2) Another argument to opt for the local victory are the numerous casualties that the Hoffenheim has (Akpoguma, Amiri, Geiger, Rupp, Kasim, Bicakcic, Demirbay and perhaps Hubner). Shakhtar arrives at the match without notable losses.
Some of them owners and other players not so important but their absence is noted in a Champions match with the concentration it requires, also playing at home.
3) Let’s talk about the field factor, as you know the Shakhtar can not play its games in its stadium (Donbass Arena) because it was bombed in the war and since last year plays local at the Metalist Stadium both in league and in European competitions. It is located in Kharkov, 300 km or so from Donetsk. It is a reasonable distance for fans of the city and a hostile environment is expected as long as matches are played in Ukraine.
4) As far as results are concerned, Shakhtar has won 7 of the 8 matches played in the Ukrainian league. At home he has won everything he has played, it is also true that the level of the domestic league can not be compared to the level of the German league, but winning always gives confidence and right now the Shakhtar is full. The scoring charts are 20 goals in favor and 4 against in 8 matches.
5) Let’s talk about Hoffenheim now, we have already commented that it is plagued by casualties and that has diminished the league start since it has 3 points out of 9 possible. He has lost against Bayern Munich at home, something more than logical, and against newly promoted Düsseldorf. He has scored 5 goals and has received 6 goals.
6) Another argument is the experience of both teams in this competition. On the one hand we have a Shaktar more than accustomed to playing the group stage year after year by winning the league of his country on a regular basis. On the other hand we have a debutant in the group stage, the Hoffenheim is the first time he reaches this stage of competition (to be 3rd in the Bundesliga last year). Last season he also played in the highest European competition was defeated in the final round of the previous round by Liverpool which led him to play the Europa League where he did not overcome the group stage.
7) We have no history between these teams. In short, I expect the local victory for the state of form of Shakhtar, the casualties that Hoffenheim has and the greater experience in this competition of the Ukrainian team.