The Europa League playoff round takes place this week, with the first legs being staged around Europe. Shakhtar Donestk will be playing their home games in Poland this term, and they will be looking to take an early advantage before the second leg against Rennes.
Europa League Preview
Shakhtar Donetsk were far from disgraced in the Champions League earlier this season, as they needed to contend with playing their home fixtures in Poland. They could manage only one victory from six games, but they also played out some solid draws in their fixtures against Celtic and Real Madrid. Ultimately, they needed to settle for a place in the Europa League, as they picked up just six points, which was six fewer than RB Leipzig, who stole second.
Shakhtar had issues scoring goals throughout the group stage in the Champions League, as they scored just eight, which was more than five fewer than the top two teams that progressed through to the next stage. They will also need to deal with having fewer options in the final third, as Mykhailo Mudryk was sold to Chelsea in the January transfer window. The forward scored twice in six games in the Champions League earlier this term.
Rennes will be the opponents for Donetsk in the playoff round, as they could only finish second in their Group B campaign. They performed well throughout that stage, as they picked up three wins and three draws from the six games that they played. However, they still finish two points behind Fenerbahce, who topped the standings.
Their recent domestic form would be a concern, as they have won just once in their previous four matches in Ligue 1. That includes a sequence of two straight defeats in their domestic league coming into this fixture on Thursday.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Rennes Head to Head
This will be the second meeting between the sides in the Europa League. Shakhtar were 1-0 winners in the only previous meeting between the sides in the 2005-06 season. However, Rennes picked up back-to-back wins against Ukrainian side Dynamo Kyiv earlier this season.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Rennes Prediction
This is likely to be a low-scoring affair between two sides that have struggled to find the back of the net in recent weeks. Therefore, we could see a low-scoring draw being the most likely outcome on Thursday.
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