Shakhtar Donetsk boss Luis Castro insists his team are ready for a “big showdown” with Basel on Tuesday as they eye a spot in the semi-finals of the Europa League (Shakhtar Donetsk 10/11, draw 14/5, Basel 29/10 – match result).
The business end of this season’s Europa League is being played out at neutral venues in Germany with one-leg games due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Inter Milan, who will face the winners of this tie in the semi-finals, and Manchester United have already sealed their passage through to the last-four.
Shakhtar Donetsk (12/1 Europa League outright) and Basel meet on Tuesday at the Veltins Arena for the right to continue their journey in the elongated competition.
The Ukrainian outfit started their campaign in the Champions League, finishing third behind Manchester City and Atalanta in the group stage, while Basel (28/1 Europa League outright) failed to come through the qualifying rounds of the elite European competition and have been in the secondary tournament since September.
With so much at stake in a one-off encounter, it’s crucial that the two teams approach the match with the right mentality.
Shakhtar chief Castro insists his men are ready for a tough test and has vowed they will treat the game as a “final”.
Castro said: “There will be a big showdown between very strong teams on the field who regard the match as a final, an excellent opportunity to advance further. We psych ourselves up for a great performance only and will try to give our all to deliver some quality football.”
Shakhtar saw off Wolfsburg impressively in the last round, cruising to a 3-0 second leg triumph, and Castro could name a similar side from that victory, with the exception of Davit Khocholava, who is suspended.
Basel also saw off German opposition in the last-16, defeating Frankfurt, and will be forced into at least one change with Eray Comert unavailable as he serves a one-match ban.