Shakhtar Donetsk vs Rennes Match Analysis & Prediction
16/02/2023 8:45 pm
Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk restart their competitive season with a Europa League knockout tie against Rennes on Thursday.
The hosts have not played a competitive game in three months, but will hope their excellent European pedigree can see them through over two legs here.
Shakhtar do not return to league action until the end of the month, but they are more than used to playing knockout matches at this stage of the season after essentially coming in from the cold.
However, it has been a challenging season on and off the pitch for Shakhtar, as well as their usual title rivals Dynamo Kiev, as they are currently five points off the pace of league leaders Dnipro-1.
Igor Jovicevic’s side finished with just four points from their final three matches before the season halted for the winter break, and the January transfer window has undoubtedly left them weaker.
Losing Mykhaylo Mudryk to Chelsea will be a huge loss for the club, despite the hefty transfer fee they received, as no player contributed to more goals in the Ukrainian top flight than him this season.
A Mudryk-inspired 4-1 victory over RB Leipzig on matchday one was Shakhtar’s only win in the Champions League, but they still edged out Celtic into third to make the Europa League with just six points.
There has been no extended winter break for Rennes, but they could use one at the moment given their recent form. They have lost five of their last seven matches, but surprisingly beat Paris Saint-Germain in that time.
That poor run has had a catastrophic impact on their Champions League qualification hopes for next season, as they are now seven points behind third-placed Monaco.
Winning this competition will of course gain them entry into Europe’s elite competition, but with the calibre of opposition in the Europa League, they must improve drastically to stand any chance.
Despite going unbeaten during the group stage, it was a messy campaign for Rennes, and it will be seen in hindsight as a major disappointment that they have to play in this preliminary round at all.
Rennes failed to beat Fenerbahce in either tie despite being 2-0 up at home and 3-0 up in Istanbul, before drawing at home to AEK Larnaca on the final matchday when a win would have won the group.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Rennes Head to head
These two teams have previously met on just one occasion in the Europa League back in 2005, where Shakhtar Donetsk claimed a 1-0 away victory.
01/12/2005Rennes0Shakhtar Donetsk1Europa League
16/02/2023Shakhtar DonetskN/ARennesN/AEuropa League
Shakhtar Donetsk Team News
Oleksandr Zubkov will return from injury for Shakhtar to soften the blow of losing Mudryk, as the 26-year-old missed their final six matches before the break.
However, Marian Shved and Viktor Korniienko will both miss out through injury, while Sergiy Kryvtsov also left the club in January to go to MLS.
Shakhtar Donetsk's Last 5 Matches
20/01/2023Austria Vienna2Shakhtar Donetsk1Club Friendlies
27/01/2023Koper2Shakhtar Donetsk2Club Friendlies
31/01/2023Ludogorets2Shakhtar Donetsk2Club Friendlies
01/02/2023Maribor4Shakhtar Donetsk4Club Friendlies
08/02/2023Shakhtar Donetsk4Sarajevo0Club Friendlies
Rennes Team News
Martin Terrier will be a big miss for Rennes, as he remains out with a knee injury suffered against Nice at the start of the year, while Karl Toko Ekambi could come back into the side after being benched for their defeat at Toulouse.
Lovro Majer has recently returned from a brief spell out, while Hamari Traore, Xeka and Lorenz Assignon all remain out injured.
Rennes's Last 5 Matches
20/01/2023Marseille1Rennes0Coupe de France
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Rennes: Odds and Predictions
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