Borussia Dortmund and Shakhtar Donetsk face off for a place in the Champions League quarter-finals, and Kevin Hatchard expects the German champions to come out on top.
"Shakhtar need to commit men forward at some stage, and Borussia Dortmund's breathtaking speed on the break could prove crucial."
Borussia Dortmund vs Shakhtar Donetsk
Tue 19:45 BST, Live on Sky Sports 2
Match Odds: Dortmund 1.654/6, Shakhtar 6.05/1, the draw 4.3100/30
German champions Borussia Dortmund are in pole position to reach the last eight thanks to a 2-2 draw in Ukraine in the first leg. Although BVB have fallen 17 points behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga title race, they have saved their best displays for the Champions League. After last season's failures in the competition, inspirational coach Jurgen Klopp went back to the drawing board and came up with a new approach.
Dortmund have marshalled their energy more effectively this season, pressing selectively rather than relentlessly. The acquisition of flying forward Marco Reus has compensated for the loss of Shinji Kagawa, and Reus has combined particularly well with Mario Gotze in the Champions League. Dortmund topped a group containing Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax, and along the way they collected some eye-catching results. They won all three of their group-stage home games, and picked up excellent draws in Madrid and Manchester.
Shakhtar cannot be underestimated, as their performances on the road in Europe show they can score goals and pick up results. They scored in all three group games away from home, and in their last 11 Champions League away games they have rattled in 22 goals. Although Brazilian forward Willian has defected to Anzhi in Russia, Shakhtar still have plenty of attacking options, with Taison, Luiz Adriano and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all capable of scoring.
Klopp's Dortmund always play on the front foot (they average 2.25 goals per game in the Bundesliga, and 1.86 in the UCL), and I expect this game to be no different. Top scorer Robert Lewandowski admits BVB can't afford to hold on for the 0-0 or 1-1 draw that would see them through, and says the home side will look for goals. At the other end Dortmund could be boosted by the return from injury of defender Mats Hummels. The German international is a much more reliable option than his deputy Felipe Santana, and Dortmund will be keen to see him pass a late fitness test.
The market expects goals, and rightly so. Yes in the Both Teams to Score market is 1.664/6, while Over 2.5 Goals is trading at 1.618/13. Both of those bets are sensible, but the prices are a bit weedy. Backing Over 3.5 Goals is worth a look at 2.56/4 if you want more bang for your buck.
Despite their patchy domestic form, I think Dortmund can pull off another excellent Champions League result, and the key could be their breathtaking speed on the counter-attack. Shakhtar need to score so they'll have to commit men forward at some stage, and I think the hosts can use that to their advantage. A strong BVB start could see them go on to shred Shakhtar on the break, so backing Dortmund -1.0 on the Asian Handicap at 2.021/1 looks a value bet.