Shakhtar Donetsk vs Konyaspor – Europa League Preview

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Konyaspor – Europa League Preview

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Konyaspor will kick off at 19:00 CET/18:00 GMT on Thursday at the Arena Lviv. Shakthar have clinched UEFA Europa League Group H after winning their first four matches in the group stage. Visitors Konyaspor meanwhile must win the game if they want to keep any hope of qualifying for the round of 32.

In fact even if Konyaspor win they will have to hope that Braga fail to win away at Gent. There will therefore be a lot of split screen watching for Konyaspor fans, as they will have to keep tabs on both games and hope that results will go their way in both.

Shakhtar in the meantime can be relaxed going into this game; as they have already secured the top spot in the group. Indeed this could be a good time for Shakhtar Donetsk coach Paulo Fonseca to field some players that have not seen as much playing time in the Ukrainian Premier League.

As we pointed out in our weekly Futbolgrad Podcast Fonseca has been key in reviving the career of several players who have found themselves a bit on the outside under former coach Mircea Lucescu. The key for this has been frequent rotation of Shakhtar’s starting eleven in which Fonseca has started the likes of Dentinho and Bernard on a frequent basis, and both Brazilians have started to put their careers back on track with the club.

On top of that Fonseca has started to introduce more players from Shakhtar’s successful youth academy. Viktor Kovalenko has been a major part of the club already last season, and the talented midfielder has made another step under Fonseca. Beyond that there are several players from the youth side, who are close to being ready to play for Shakhtar’s first team, and some of them could be in the line-up against Konyaspor on Thursday.

With this in mind it would not be a huge surprise if Konyaspor manage a result when travelling to Ukraine on Thursday. On the other hand Fonseca has rotated his squad all season without results really dropping off, which suggests that Shakhtar could very well make it five out of five wins on matchday 5 of the Europa League.

Players to look out for:

Andriy Boryachuk has been the most recent youth team player to break into Shakhtar’s first team. The 20-year-old striker has scored two goals in four games so far this season. Boryachuk, however, lacks the physical presence of Shakhtar’s main striker Facundo Ferreyra, and Fonseca therefore prefers to use the young striker against less mobile defenders—often in tandem with Dentinho. Boryachuk has a bit of Kévin Gameiro in him, and while he might not be a necessary start on Thursday, he could very well be a player with a bright future.

Shakhtar Donetsk vs Konyaspor – Match Facts

  • Shakhtar’s Darijo Srna has played 142 UEFA club games, the highest total of any player in this season’s UEFA Europa League.
  • In eight matches against Turkish teams Shakhtar have never lost (W7 D1).
  • Shakhtar have always qualified for the knockout stage when playing in the UEFA Cup/Europa League.
  • FC Schalke 04, Shakhtar and Zenit are the only sides who have won all four of their opening games. Shakhtar and Zenit are the top scorers this season with 13 goals: an average of 3.25 per match.

Futbolgrad’s Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk vs Konyaspor 4-1

Possible Line-ups

Shakhtar Donetsk:

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Pyatov – Ismaily, Rakitsky, Ordets, Srna – Malyshev, Fred – Taison, Bernard, Marlos – Boryachuk

Manager: Paulo Fonseca


Formation: 4-4-2

Kirintili – Douglas, Bardakci, Turan, Skubić – Milosević, Findikli, Camdali, Sahiner – Rangelov, Bajić

Manager: Aykut Kocaman

By Manuel Veth –