Shakhtar Donetsk - FC Nordsjaelland Preview: The champions of Ukraine and Denmark collide
The Danish Superliga winners travel to Ukraine to face Mircea Lucescu's men, who will be hoping to get through the group stage, after falling there in last year's competition
By William Shand
Rat, Chygrynskiy, Rakitskiy, Srna
Willian, Alex Teixeira, Douglas Costa
Mtiliga, Okore, Runje, Parkhurst
Stockholm, Adu, Christensen
Lorentzen, Beckmann, John
Shakhtar welcome Champions League freshmen Nordsjaelland to the Donbass Arena as they look to make it 10 wins from 10 competitive matches. Following their comfortable 3-0 victory over Zorya Lugansk, head coach Mircea Lucescu will be able to field a side free of any significant injury concerns.
Razvan Rat and Darijo Srna are likely to reclaim their respective full-back berths whilst Eduardo will make way for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Behind him, the creative spark will be provided by the familiar trio of perennial Premier League targets Willian, Alex Teixeira and Douglas Costa.
Nordsjaelland, meanwhile, have not displayed the same consistency exhibited by their more illustrious opponents. Still bruising from a weekend loss to FC Copenhagen, the Danes sit six points off the summit of the Danish league with nine games played.
They will look, in chief, to forward Joshua John to fire them to victory, whilst highly rated defender Jores Okore will look to marshal the backline against the formidable attacking talent they will face.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Shakhtar’s most successful Champions League campaign was 2010-11, when they reached the quarter-finals.
- Shakhtar have won 19 top-flight matches in a row – a record for the Ukrainian league.
- The Ukranian champions have scored 245 goals in all European competitions.
- No member of FC Nordsjaelland’s squad has ever appeared in the Champions League.
The Danes have not been beaten at home in 10 games.
- Last season was their first ever league triumph in Denmark.
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Top 3 Predictions
Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 FC Nordsjælland
- 20.33 %
Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 FC Nordsjælland
- 16.6 %
Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 FC Nordsjælland
- 12.86 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 20, 2012||FC Nordsjælland 2 - Shakhtar Donetsk 5|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Sep 19, 2012||Shakhtar Donetsk 2 - FC Nordsjælland 0|
|Nov 27, 2013||Shakhtar Donetsk 4 - Real Sociedad 0||UCL|
|Nov 5, 2013||Shakhtar Donetsk 0 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0||UCL|
|Oct 23, 2013||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 4 - Shakhtar Donetsk 0||UCL|
|Oct 2, 2013||Shakhtar Donetsk 1 - Man Utd. 1||UCL|
|Sep 17, 2013||Real Sociedad 0 - Shakhtar Donetsk 2||UCL|
|-||Enock Kofi Adu||Midfielder|
|30||SmørumnedreLasse Andersen Petry||Midfielder|
The 23 year-old Armenian has been in lethal form all season, leading the goal scoring charts with 12 goals in nine league games. He has already scored more goals this season than in any of his previous three league campaigns and, against opponents sampling the Champions League for the very first time, will be hopeful he can add to his already outstanding scoring record.
The Dutch attacker was brought in on loan from Twente this summer and has already made an immediate impact, scoring six goals in five competitive games. Blessed with considerable pace, he will be hoping to ruffle the feathers of a Shakhtar backline that will have to guard against complacency.
For Shakhtar to harbour any serious ambitions of progressing to the Round of 16 they need to start their campaign with a win and, despite FC Nordsjælland’s best efforts, the Ukrainian side's current form and Champions League pedigree should ensure they comfortably achieve this in front of their home fans.