Betting match preview: Shakhtar Donetsk v Werder Bremen

Shakhtar Donetsk v Werder Bremen, UEFA Cup final, May 20, 2009

Following a marathon European campaign, in which both these sides saw off local rivals in the semi-finals, the stage is set for the last ever UEFA Cup final in Istanbul.

Shakhtar would be the first Ukrainian side to win a European trophy should they emerge triumphant (13/8 to win) and their record in the competition this season suggests they can see off the German side.

Veteran Mircea Lucescu has watched his team defeat Tottenham, CSKA Moscow, Marseille and Dynamo Moscow in a run that has coincided with a real upturn in form. After a poor start to the Ukrainian Premier League and then elimination from the Champions League, Shakhtar turned their form around and claimed one of their most important ever victories with the semi-final win over bitter rivals Dynamo Kiev.

Much like Zenit St. Petersburg in last year’s final, Shakhtar Donetsk come into this game with a line-up full of talent that is not that well known by the rest of Europe. The Brazilians Ilsinho, Jadson (8/1 to be the first scorer), Fernandinho, Luiz Adriano and Willian (16/1 to score first) bring a bit of Samba flair to the side.

And there are also two fine Ukrainian talents in defender Dmytro Chyhrysnkyi, whose name seems destined to be butchered for the rest of his career and Oleksandr Hladkyi, a 21-year-old striker who will likely start this match as a sub but represents a bright future for Shakhtar.

One player who may be worth a flutter for first goal, or to score at any time, is Darijo Srna, the Croatian international has scored five goals this season, four of which have come from free-kicks. (Srna is 20/1 to score first, 6/1 to score at any time.)

Whilst Werder Bremen have the experience in Europe, having been a regular club in the Champions League in recent years, they are without a number of players, including Brazilian schemer Diego who is suspended for the final and due to a thigh injury may well have played his last game for the club.

Bremen are also without striker Hugo Almeida and defender Per Mertesacker and there will be much expectation resting on the shoulders of Mesut Ozil, a Turkish-born schemer who made his international debut for Germany in February. (Ozil is 12/1 to be the man of the match.)

There are also injury worries over captain Frank Baumann and strikers Claudio Pizarro and Markus Rosenberg. If Pizarro does play he could well get on the scoresheet, as he has done five times in the UEFA Cup already this season, including the double that saw off AC Milan in February.

Without Diego and with Shakhtar brimming with confidence (ten wins in their last 11 games) as well as chasing a reported personal win bonus of more than 185,000 euros paid by chairman Rinat Akhmetov, the Ukrainian side should be heavy favourites to win on Wednesday night.

101gg predicts: Shakhtar Donetsk 3 – Werder Bremen 1 (28/1)

Full match odds here.