There is a new Sheriff in town and that is Sheriff Tiraspol who are set to make their debut in the UEFA Champions League when they face Shakhtar Donetsk in a Group D fixture at the Bolshaya Sportivnaya Arena on Wednesday with kickoff at 19:45.
Sheriff will become the first side from the Moldovan Divizia Nationala to ever qualify for the Champions League. The Moldovan reigning champions saw their dreams come true through a difficult route as they had to play all the qualifying rounds and had to see off tough opponents including Red Star Belgrade and Dinamo Zagreb along the way.
However, the Yellow-Blacks have previously competed in the Europa League group stages on four occasions but had tried and failed in many occasions to reach the Europe’s top competition, and this is their year to finally test themselves against Europe’s elites. Although this their year to display their class in the Champions League, Yuriy Vernydub’s side are placed in a very daunting group that will see them face 13-time champions Real Madrid, three-time winners Inter Milan and Ukrainian giants Shakhtar who are their first opponents.
Sheriff head into the opener in a good form having lost none of their last 12 games across all competitions with a six-match home winning streak. However, they have lost one their last five league matches leaving them in the fourth place with 12 points but still have four games in hand. They have also looked solid defensively as they have kept clean sheets in all their last five matches across all competitions.
Meanwhile Shakhtar Donetsk also secured their Champions League group stage place through the qualifiers, seeing off the likes of Genk and Monaco along the way. Shakhtar have been regulars in the Champions League as they have played in the group stage in the last four seasons but have failed to proceed to the knockout stages in the last three seasons.
Therefore, the Ukrainians will be looking to go further up the tournament this time around although they face Real Madrid and Inter Milan in the same group in the second successive year. However, that doesn’t mean that Shakhtar are completely out of claiming the two top spots as they claimed a double over the Spanish giants last term while recording two goalless draws against the Italians.
Roberto De Zerbi’s side have made a strong to the Ukrainian league having recorded five wins and a draw from their seven opening matches leaving them in the second place with 16 points in the league standings. They now head into the Wednesday’s clash in a good form as they haven’t lost in their last seven matches across all competitions and have also not lost in their last six away matches and will be looking to continue with the form as they look to bag the crucial three points.
Sheriff Tiraspol vs Shakhtar Donetsk head to head
The two have met in two occasions since 2003 with Shartar claiming a win and draw.
- Shakhtar 2-0 Tiraspol 06/08/03
- Tiraspol 0-0 Shakhtar 30/07/03
- Tiraspol 2-0 Petrocub Hincesti
- FC Balti 0-2 Tiraspol
- Zagreb 0-0 Tiraspol
- Tiraspol 3-0 Zagreb
- Tiraspol 1-0 Crvena Zvezda
- Shakhtar 2-0 Dnipro-1
- Minaj 1-1 Shakhtar
- Shakhtar 2-2 Monaco
- Odessa 0-3 Shakhtar
- Monaco 0-1 Shakhtar
Sheriff Tiraspol team news
Tiraspol will be without Moussa Kyabou and Lovro Bizjak through injuries.
Shakhtar team news
Shakhtar will only be without Anatolii Trubin who is nursing a knee injury.
Prediction and odds
- Shakhtar win
- Both sides to score
- Goals over 2.5