- Group C’s bottom two go head-to-head
- Atalanta’s first-ever campaign in the UEFA Champions League
- Shakhtar looking to go beyond group stage after missing out last season
Group C’s two point-less teams meet in Atalanta next Tuesday, October 1, 2019, with both hoping to get off the mark after having suffered opening-day defeats. The stakes are high and defeat for either virtually signals the end of their chances of making the lucrative knockout stages of the tournament. We’ll take a look and see if there’s any value to be had.
Atalanta vs Shakhtar Donetsk UCL Matchday 2 Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total||Odds To Win Champions League|
|Atalanta||pk -0.5 (-126)||+101||O 2.5 (-135)||+15000|
|Shakhtar Donetsk||pk + 0.5 (+110)||+240||U 2.5 (+119)||+20000|
*Odds taken on September 25, 2019
Atalanta starts as favorites in this one but will need to quickly clear their heads after a disappointing opener against Dinamo Zagreb. A 4-0 thumping in Zagreb was certainly not what they had envisaged for their first-ever Champions League game, and they were dealt a short, sharp lesson in what in takes to win in this competition.
A hard-earned third-place finish in last season’s Serie A earned the Nerazzurri their shot at the Champions League and they will be desperate not to blow that opportunity before it has barely begun. In many ways, a home game with Shakhtar – the supposed next-weakest team in the group behind Zagreb – is the ideal fixture and it’s certainly a game they dare not lose.
Atalanta, despite their humbling in Croatia, have made a good start to their Serie A campaign – just one defeat in their opening five games – and look well equipped to take on Shakhtar, with summer signings Luis Muriel and Ruslan Malimovskyi starting to feel at home in their new surroundings.
Atalanta vs Shakhtar Donetsk Stats
|14/35||Number of European Wins / Number of games||102/218|
|54/1.54||Number European goals scored / Per game||343/1.57|
|29/0.83||Number of European goals conceded / Per game||288/1.32|
|0||Number of European trophies won||1|
|0||Number of domestic league titles won||12|
|0||Number of European finals||1|
Shakhtar earned their place in this competition by winning the Ukranian title for the 12th time – their third in succession – and have made a flying start to the new campaign with eight wins from eight. They are by far and away the most successful club in Ukraine and the disappointing 3-0 home loss to Manchester City in their Champions League opener was, for them, a rare taste of defeat.
While defeat at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s expensively assembled squad of superstars was no surprise in itself, the manner of defeat will have disappointed Shakhtar’s manager Luis Castro, who has assembled a heavily Brazilian-influenced team that looks equipped to go toe-to-toe with the best, at least on home turf.
A second consecutive Champions League defeat for the Ukrainians would spell disaster, so it’s fair to assume Castro will set his side up not to lose in Bergamo. While a win would be great, and they do have players who can hurt the Italians by playing on the counter-attack, Shakhtar would definitely take a point for this game if it was offered to them now.
So, with avoiding defeat arguably more important for both teams than getting their first Champions League win of the season, everything points to a low-scoring draw here, maybe even a goal-less one.
My pick: Atalanta and Shakhtar Donetsk to draw (+260)