2009 UEFA Cup Championship Preview and Pick

2009 UEFA Cup Championship Preview and Pick
by Jason Green of Predictem.com

Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) vs. Werder Bremen (Germany) 2:45 PM ET Wednesday May 20, 2009

By Jason Green at Predictem.com

Tomorrow night Shakhtar Donetsk plays Werder Bremen at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul in the finals of the UEFA Cup. The winner of this game will not only wins the UEFA Cup, but they also win an automatic berth into next season’s Champions League. That may mean more to Werder, as they are not having a good season in the Bundesliga currently in 10th place in the standings.

Shakhtar is currently in 2nd place in the Ukraine Premier League and it does not look like they will catch first place Dynamo Kiev, as they trail them by 12 points. Neither team has ever won a UEFA Cup Championship and this is Shakhtar’s first appearance in a European Cup final.

The odds for this match have Werder as the slight favorites at 2.5 and Shakhtar at 2.7 with a draw at 3.3. The moneyline for this game is Werder at +160 and Shakhtar at +170 with a draw at +225 with a goal total of O/U 2.5.

After Shakhtar played to a 1-1 draw against Ukrainian rival Dynamo Kiev in Kiev and then at home they beat Dynamo 2-1 to advance to the finals. Werder also played against team from within their country in the semifinals, as they beat Hamburg to advance to the finals.

Shakhtar Recent Form

Shakhtar 1-0 Dynamo
Shakhtar 3- 0 FC Kharkiv
Shakhtar 2-1 Dynamo
Kryvbas 0-1 Shakhtar

Werder Bremen Recent Form

Frankfurt 0-5 Werder Bremen
Werder Bremen 2-0 Hamburg
FC Cologne 1-0 Werder Bremen
Werder Bremen 3-2 Bochum

Werder will be without Diego and Hugo Almeida for this match and also in doubt are F Claudio Pizarro, D Per Mertesacker, and D Markus Rosenborg. Shakhtar is relatively healthy for this match, but they will miss D Tomas Hubschmann due to suspension.

Shakhtar striker Fernandinho will be key for the Ukrainians in this match, as he is their most dangerous goal scorer. He has scored 4 goals in 8 UEFA Cup games this season. Jadson is also a player to watch and he has scored 3 goals in the UEFA Cup this season. The Werder defense will have to play a solid game to keep up these two Brazilians.

Considering that Diego is out and there are several other injured players for Werder they have their work cut out for them against the attacking club from Ukraine. Werder M Torsten Frings will have to have a good game and not only win attacks on the ball in the midfield and provide some offense, but he will have to help thwart the Shakhtar attack.

Since Diego is THE playmaker for Werder and he is out F Mesut Ozil is the big gun on offence. He has Turkish grandparents, so he may have a little extra incentive in this match in Istanbul.

Both of these clubs are very disciplined, but it is Shakhtar that has the more freewheeling offense. Werder will have to exploit that and hope to get a goal on a counter attack. Without Diego and Almeida in the lineup it may the only way they can score.

Prediction: Both teams will look to take it slow from the start, but the duo of Fernandinho and Jadson may be too much for the Werder defense to handle, as I look for the Ukrainian club to win this game 2-0 and hoist the UEFA Cup.