It is easy to understand why Borussia Dortmund are such strong favourites to beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie at the Westfalenstadion.
After a 2-2 draw at the Donbass Arena, the German champions are in pole position to reach the quarter-finals, with Mats Hummels’ late header seeming like it could be the tie’s most pivotal moment.
The result extended Dortmund’s excellent Champions League run, too.
Topping a group that included Real Madrid, Ajax and Manchester City was a seriously impressive feat, especially after Die Schwarzgelben’s surprisingly poor effort in Europe during 2011/12.
Remaining unbeaten in all six group matches has marked out Jurgen Klopp’s side as dark horses to win the tournament.
What’s more, Dortmund are definitely flavour of the month here in England.
Those impressive displays against the Premier League champions – a desperately unlucky 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium and a fully deserved 1-0 victory in the return match – will have been studied by bookies as much as the watching public, while their recent record of success (two Bundesliga titles in succession, the latest one with a domestic cup to boot) is worthy of anybody’s attention.
The fact that Klopp was interviewed on BBC1’s Football Focus at the weekend, where he spoke very impressively, shows just how high his and Dortmund’s reputation is at the moment.
So with all that said, why am I going to argue that Shakhtar Donetsk are well capable of getting a result in Germany tonight?
Well, for starters, the price: Dortmund are awfully short at 11/20, and I am going to be getting on a combination of the draw at 16/5 and the Ukrainians at 17/4, which looks big to me.
It is 27/20 that Donetsk avoid defeat, and that seems okay to me, especially with winnings of £47 on offer for anyone successfully backing this selection with their free £20 bet after registering with bwin.
The Ukrainian champions are a tidy side themselves and I really believe that the bookies are underestimating their chances with the quotes above.
I don’t think this is going to be as straightforward for Dortmund as people seem to think. Mircea Lucescu’s side are running away with their domestic league once again and have won 27 of their last 28 league matches over the last two seasons.
The standard in Ukraine might not be that of the Bundesliga, but six titles in the last seven years show they are far and above anything back home, and they have shown their quality in their Champions League campaign, too.
In qualifying ahead of Chelsea, whom they beat easily at home and were extremely unfortunate to lose to in the last minute at Stamford Bridge, Donetsk underlined the danger they pose, as they did when drawing against Juventus in Turin.
And away from home, they have proved time and again they are capable of scoring. Headed by Douglas Costa and Luiz Adriano, Shakhtar have struck 22 goals in their last 11 away games in the Champions League, failing to score just once and hitting three or more on four occasions – and they can definitely score against Klopp’s men.
After all, it’s not like Dortmund are in great form. With just two wins in six they are not playing at their maximum and they have shown that they are beatable at home: having lost to Schalke, Wolfsburg and Hamburg this season, conceding nine goals in the process, there is reason to think Donetsk’s counter-attack can cause the Germans’ rearguard problems.
A further three home draws explains why Dortmund trail Bayern Munich by 17 points, a poor effort of defending their title, and I would argue that Klopp’s men are being overrated here, while Shakhtar are being dismissed too lightly.
As such, the 27/20 that Donetsk get a result, even if it is not enough to progress, is well worth a play.