The first-leg in Ukraine should be an intriguing spectacle as both teams look to make a strong start in their Champions League last-16 tie. It is probably fair to say that neither Roma or Shakhtar Donetsk expected to reach the quarter-finals when the draw for the group stage was made, with both teams being pitted with two elite sides each.
However, Shakhtar won four of their six games to finish second behind Manchester City and eliminate Napoli, while Roma managed to top Group C ahead of Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. This clearly shows that both are capable of mixing with Europe’s best and it will be intriguing to see how far the winner of this tie can go in the tournament.
In Italy, Roma are on course to finish third after another solid season to this point. That would give them another campaign in the Champions League, though they are too far behind Napoli and Juventus (16 and 15 points respectively) to challenge for the Scudetto. Their recent form has been good, with three wins in a row, though before that the Italians went seven winless, so they are hitting form at the right time.
Donetsk, meanwhile, are once again top of the Ukrainian Premier League having won the division last season by an impressive margin of 13 points. They have major competition in the form of Dynamo Kiev, though, and their opponents have a game in hand and are just three points behind with a superior goal difference.
Manager Paulo Fonseca kept his promise of dressing up as Zorro for a press conference once his team had qualified for the knockout stage, and it remains to be seen how he will celebrate if he can guide his team to their first ever Champions League quarter-final.
The odds for the first-leg are extremely close at Tipbet’s website. As shown above, Donetsk are 2.50 to get a win on Wednesday night, with their home form – they have not been beaten at the Donbass Arena in a competitive fixture since November – a major reason for this. Roma are 2.95 for victory, though a draw (3.30), particularly with an away goal, would put the Italians in the driving seat.
More odds here.