Wolfsburg head to Ukraine to play Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night in the Europa League seeking to overturn their 2-1 deficit from the first leg. Wolfsburg need two goals to overcome Shakhtar Donetsk’s away goal advantage. The German club will feel confident of getting the goals they need thanks to striker Wout Weghorst. Still, Shakhtar Donetsk provide a formidable foe for the last 16 second leg for Oliver Glasner and his players.
Wolfsburg finished seventh in the Bundesliga and qualified for the Europa League second qualifying round but ended the season in poor form. Luis Castro’s Shakhtar Donetsk claimed the Ukranian Premier League title in 2019-20 and will feel confident of winning at home versus the Wolves.
Glasner’s team finished the Europa League group stage in second place behind Belgium’s Gent. They powered past Sweden’s Malmo in the last 32, 5-1 on aggregate to reach the last 16.
Shakhtar Donetsk started their European campaign in the Champions League group stage but joined the Europa League at the last 32 after being knocked out. Shakhtar Donetsk then shocked last season’s Europa League quarterfinalists Benfica 5-4 on aggregate to reach the last 16 where Wolfsburg remains a threat. Which side will prevail in the second leg? Shakhtar Donetsk have the advantage.
Shakhtar Donetsk finished the Ukranian Premier League season in mid-July topping the Championship Round of games. They went unbeaten in their last six matches but could be affected by spending two and a half weeks on the sidelines without games.
The time off could affect Castro’s team and hurt their attempts at progression. That said, Wolfsburg have been off for over a month. The Bundesliga played its final round of games on June 27. The club’s layoff could stop them from getting goals and advancing to the quarterfinals.
Shakhtar Donetsk got off to a fast start in the first leg between these clubs. Moraes scored the opener for Shakhtar Dontesk in the 17th minute. Wolfsburg’s John Brooks equalised just after halftime but the Ukranians got a late winner through Marcos Antonio. The second goal not only puts them up 2-1 on aggregate, but Wolfsburg must score two away goals to overcome their deficit.
The winner of the Europa League tie between Shakhtar Donetsk and Wolfsburg will face off with either FC Basel or Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarterfinals. As it stands, FC Basel are likely to make the quarterfinal having won 3-0 in the first leg. The quarterfinal game will be played in Gelsenkirchen at Schalke’s stadium, the Veltins.
The edge goes to Shakhtar Donetsk for the second leg. They are far more experienced team when it comes to European football. They competed in the Champions League group stage before moving to the Europa League. Although they only defeated Benfica 5-4 on aggregate, Shakhtar Donetsk played a strong team in the last 32 than Wolfsburg did. Wolfsburg thrashed Malmo 5-1.
Shakhtar Donetsk will rely on veteran goal scorer Moraes to get goals once more. He opened the scoring in the first leg and could get on the scoresheet again. Marcos Antonio, the match winner for Shakhtar Donetsk, is just 20-years-old. He is likely to linked with clubs elsewhere in the near future. The midfielder could play a major part for Shakhtar Donetsk in the second leg.
The second leg could be another chance for Wolfsburg striker Wout Weghorst to impress clubs around Europe. Both Arsenal and Newcastle United are linked with Weghorst this summer. The striker has hinted at wanting a move away from Wolfsburg. Weghorst scored 16 goals during the Bundesliga season. He accounted for 33% of Wolfsburg’s league scoring. The Dutchman has surprising only scored twice in eight Europa League games heading into the second leg on Wednesday.
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Expect the second leg of the last 16 match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Wolfsburg to unravel in a similar fashion to the first leg. Wolfsburg should be well rested with injuries healed. Still, they could be rusty going into the game against the Ukrainians. Three of Wolfsburg’s last six league games finished with both teams scoring.
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The first leg saw Shakhtar Donetsk score a late winner to claim a 2-1 victory. Wolfsburg have to go out and score goals to overturn the deficit. They must score at least two away goals to have any chance of moving onto the next round. Their need for goals is likely to leave them open at the back allowing Shakhtar Donetsk to grab a goal of their own. A Shakhtar Donetsk goal won’t kill off the tie as Wolfsburg will still need to strikes.
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Weghorst had a brilliant Bundesliga season and is lined up as a possible transfer for Arsenal. If the Gunners lose either Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Weghorst could be their replacement. Weghorst has scored 20 goals in 42 games in all competitions this season. He scored five goals in his last five Bundesliga games and will want to show his links to Arsenal are warranted.
Shakhtar Donetsk are in the driver’s seat thanks to the two away goals they scored in the first leg. They can play without stress on Wednesday while Wolfsburg will have weight on their shoulders. A slip up on Wolfsburg’s part could put the game out of reach. It is important to remember that one Shakhtar Donetsk goal doesn’t change Wolfsburg’s mission. They need two goals to move ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk on aggregate. Anything less and Wolfsburg will be home for the remainder of August.
The winner of the fixture will play six days later against FC Basel or Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarterfinals. Shakhtar Donetsk should be the team playing in the quarterfinals as they once again defeat Wolfsburg in the Europa League.
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The match between Shakhtar Donetsk vs Wolfsburg kicks-off at 17:55 UK time on Wednesday the 5th August.