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Michael Taylor 27th Aug 2009 - 12:11

Shakhtar can cause Barca some serious problems

The last ever UEFA Cup winners, Shakhtar Donetsk, face a formidable challenge in Friday's UEFA Super Cup against Barcelona but don't rule out the Ukrainians from pulling off an almighty shock.

It was during last season's UEFA Cup run that Shakhtar's attractive brand of football came into the public eye and, by the time they had reached the final, there was little shock when they breezed past Werder Bremen.

Perfectly utilising the impressive Luiz Adriano as a lone striker Mircea Lucescu's team have ingenuity, a great work ethic and the ability to break open defences at will.

It's not too difficult to work out why they play with such flair given their quintet of Brazilians, Adriano, Jadson, Willian, Ilsinho and Fernandinho, but they also have the necessary balance through the likes of Dario Srna and Poland international Mariusz Lewandowski.

It's more than enough to cause even the best teams problems and, considering Barcelona haven't even played a competitive game since May, Donetsk look real value at 6/1 to win within 90 minutes.

Obviously Barcelona go in as short favourites (2/5) and they will be tough to beat.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be desperate to make an immediate impression while Iniesta, Xavi, Henry and Messi complete the best attacking unit in world football.

Whether the introduction of Ibrahimovic provides instant rewards is up for debate but you have to think the game could become a parade if Barca manage to get on the scoresheet first.

It means a good start is an absolute necessity for the outsiders and they'll look towards either Olexandr Gladkiy or one of their Brazilians to give them the advantage.

Gladkiy, a former Ukrainian Premier League top scorer, is perhaps their most likely option and is available at 9/1 to score first but I prefer the look of UEFA Cup hero Jadson at 11/1.

It was Jadson's extra time goal that brought a first European title to the Donbass Arena and it'd cap a perfect year for the 25-year-old if he could put his club on the way to another trophy.

As for the match itself, you have to believe that the emphasis will be on attacking for both sides.

Both teams love to attack, score bagfuls of goals and, quite importantly, are sometimes not fully convincing at the back - all the ingredients required to make for an enthralling match-up.

You have to think there is some value in 4/9 about more than two total match goals but the price and market I like the look of is the 10/1 about Shakhtar scoring in both halves.

In what is basically a glorified friendly, backing a team already five games into their domestic season, I'd like to think they can threaten the Barcelona goal from the first minute to the last kick of the game.

Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk - view all betting

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