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Shakhtar seeking lift-off against Zenit

Published: Monday 3 October 2011, 8.45CET
Last season's quarter-finalists FC Shakhtar Donetsk will look to get their 2011/12 campaign back on track against an FC Zenit St Petersburg side with a recent dose of travel sickness.
Shakhtar seeking lift-off against Zenit
Luiz Adriano's Shakhtar have had a frustrating time of it so far in Group G ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 3 October 2011, 8.45CET

Shakhtar seeking lift-off against Zenit

Last season's quarter-finalists FC Shakhtar Donetsk will look to get their 2011/12 campaign back on track against an FC Zenit St Petersburg side with a recent dose of travel sickness.

UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists last season, FC Shakhtar Donetsk will look to get their 2011/12 campaign back on track when they welcome FC Zenit St Petersburg to the Donbass Arena.

• Mircea Lucescu's men enter the double-header with their Russian visitors bottom of Group G with only one point after a home draw with APOEL FC last time out – a far cry from 12 months ago when they had six points at this stage. Zenit have also suffered at APOEL's hands, losing in Cyprus on matchday one, but bounced back with victory against FC Porto and in Luciano Spalletti have a coach who knows how to beat Shakhtar.

Previous meetings
• These clubs were old rivals in the Soviet era but have not met since the 1989 season when each posted a 1-0 home victory. Zenit's last Soviet Supreme League win at Shakhtar was a 3-2 success in 1981.

• Shakhtar squeezed past Zenit three times in Soviet Cup semi-finals in the 1980s, winning on penalties each time. They went on to lift the trophy in 1983 but lost subsequent finals in 1985 and 1986. The Donetsk club suffered a shoot-out loss to Zenit in the 1977 quarter-finals.

Match background
• After dropping two points against APOEL, the Ukrainian title holders will see Zenit's visit as the perfect opportunity to recover the dominant home form that brought four straight victories in last season's UEFA Champions League prior to a 1-0 quarter-final reverse against FC Barcelona. That defeat ended a 15-match unbeaten European sequence in Donetsk.

• Last month's defeat at APOEL was Zenit's third in a row on their European travels.

• While this is the Russian champions' first meeting with a Ukrainian team in UEFA competition, Shakhtar have happy memories of their most recent encounter with Russian opponents. They overcame PFC CSKA Moskva in the round of 16 of their triumphant 2008/09 UEFA Cup campaign, overturning a 1-0 reverse in Moscow through Fernandinho's penalty and Luiz Adriano.

• Shakhtar have faced a Russian outfit in only one previous UEFA Champions League tie, succumbing 3-2 on aggregate to FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the 2003/04 third qualifying round despite a 1-0 first-leg victory in Donetsk.

Team ties
• Zenit coach Spalletti suffered a 1-0 defeat with AS Roma at Shakhtar's old RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage. Yet the Italian's Roma side had already defeated Shakhtar 4-0 at home and eventually claimed second place in the group at the Ukrainian team's expense.

• In the following season's group stage, Spalletti led Roma to two wins against FC Dynamo Kyiv, including a 4-1 success in the Ukrainian capital.

• Aleksandr Kerzakhov played for Sevilla FC in a 2-2 home draw with Shakhtar in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup round of 16, but missed the second leg in Ukraine through injury.

• Henrik Mkhitaryan faced Russia twice this year with Armenia in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, earning a 0-0 home draw in March but suffering a 3-1 loss in June at Zenit's Petrovski Stadion in a match that pitted him against Aleksandr Anyukov, Igor Denisov and Konstantin Zyryanov.

• Eduardo scored past Yuri Zhevnov in Croatia's 3-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory in Belarus in September 2009. The Belarus goalkeeper faced Ukraine in the same campaign, meaning he took on Shakhtar's Andriy Pyatov, Dmytro Chygrynskiy, Olexandr Kucher, Olexiy Gai and Vasyl Kobin. Zhevnov suffered a 1-0 defeat in Lviv but kept a clean sheet in a goalless draw in Minsk.

• Zhevnov also helped Belarus to home (0-0) and away (2-2) draws with Răzvan Raţ's Romania in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, the latter game being played on 7 October.

• Domenico Criscito helped Italy beat Ukraine 2-0 in a March friendly in Kyiv. Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Yevhen Seleznyov and Taras Stepanenko were in the home lineup.

• Sergei Semak played in FC Rubin Kazan's 3-1 defeat at Dynamo Kyiv in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage. He suffered a 3-2 defeat in Ukraine with Russia in a UEFA EURO 2000 qualifier in September 1998.

Last updated: 17/10/11 14.28CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000263/match=2007613/prematch/background/index.html#shakhtar+seeking+lift+against+zenit

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