Mariupol vs Bordeaux – Thursday, August 9, 18:00 BST/19:00 CEST – Chornomorets, Odessa, Ukraine
After a slow start to the Ukrainian Premier League Mariupol are back on track. The Steel Workers managed to eliminate the Swedish club Djurgarden in extra-time last week and then managed to win their first three points in the UPL by defeating newly promoted side Arsenal Kyiv.
It was the first three-pointer in three matches for Mariupol. Finishing fifth last season the two defeats to Zorya and Desna have raised a few eyebrows in Ukraine. Losing to newly promoted side Desna, in particular, could have caused problems for Oleksandr Babych had he also been eliminated by Djurgarden.
The 39-year-old Babych, however, has turned around the boat in short order. Playing in an attractive 3-4-3 formation Mariupol, in fact, are pleasing to watch when on form. Like many Ukrainian sides the club from Eastern Ukraine, who will be forced to play their European campaign in exile due to the ongoing conflict in the Donbass, like to play football rather than finding their salvation by shutting down shop in the back.
That sort of football has always been a stylistic element when Ukrainian clubs play in European competitions. Hence, Bordeaux will be facing a side that might go into the tie as an underdog but will nonetheless look to attack rather than being pressed into their half.
It is a stylistic element that could work in favour of Girondins Bordeaux on Thursday. The French side will continue their journey through the post-Soviet space after beating the Latvian side Ventspils in the previous round.
Coached by the Uruguayan Gustavo Poyet Les Girondins finished sixth in Ligue 1 last season. The current Europa League qualifiers, however, fall right into the Ligue 1 season preparation.
The French domestic season will kick off this weekend with Bordeaux facing Strasbourg on Sunday. Poyet, therefore, has to walk a fine line between getting his players ready for the domestic season and qualifying for the Europa League group stage.
That fine line could be an advantage for Mariupol. The Ukrainians have now played a full round of Europa League qualifiers, and three domestic games and Babych’s squad will without a doubt be used to the Thursday-Weekend-Thursday schedule at this point.
Mariupol vs Bordeaux – Players to look out for:
Andriy Boryachuk #39 – Mariupol
On loan from Shakhtar Donetsk Andriy Boryachuk is one of the most promising forwards in Ukrainian football. The 22-year-old striker scored three goals in seven games for Shakhtar two years ago. Then send out on loan to Mariupol last year he scored another five goals and two assists in 18 games. This year he has started in two Ukrainian Premier League matches and ended up scoring the winner against Arsenal Kyiv on the weekend. In that particular match Boryachuk was moved out to the wing in Babych’s 3-4-3 system, which seemed to suit the 22-year-old just fine as he used his speed to terrorise the opposition.
#11 – Girondins Bordeaux
Signed from SC Bastia in the summer of 2017 François Kamano continues his development as a lethal winger at Girondins Bordeaux. The Guinean national team player (19 caps, four goals) was among the scorers in Bordeaux 2-1 victory against Ventspils last week. Furthermore, last season Kamano managed eight goals and five assists in 35 Ligue 1 games. A fast attacking player Kamano can be used on both wings and also play as a centre-forward.
Mariupol vs Bordeaux – Match Stats
- This is the first competitive match between the two clubs
- Mariupol knocked out Djurgården in last round
- Bordeaux beat Ventspils in the previous stage
- Winners face Jagiellonia Białystok/Gent in playoffs
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Mariupol vs Bordeaux – 1-3
Mariupol vs Bordeaux – Lineups
Galchuk – Dawa Tchakonte, Chabotenko, Yavorsky – Demiri, Korobenko, Mishnyov,
Head Coach: Oleksandr Babych
Costil – Poundjé, Koundé, Pablo, Lewczuk – Tchouaméni, Plasil, Sankharé – Kamano, de Préville, Youssouf
Head Coach: Gustavo Poyet
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.