FC Barcelona will be meeting FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals less than two years after their epic 2009 UEFA Super Cup fixture and Josep Guardiola is relishing the rematch with Mircea Lucescu's men.
Barcelona beat Shakhtar 1-0 with a Pedro Rodríguez goal deep in extra time in Monaco. The previous season they also played in the UEFA Champions League group stage, both games finishing as away wins – Guardiola's side triumphing 2-1 in Ukraine with Lionel Messi's added-time winner but
losing 3-2 at home.
"It hasn't been that long since we played them; they're still doing things in a similar fashion, as are we," said Guardiola, whose team are at home on 6 April and away six days later. "They have won the UEFA Cup recently and furthermore we remember how tricky it was to beat them in the UEFA Super Cup. They've only lost to Arsenal in Europe this season. If the Champions League were a global league it would be them who lead the way with most points.
"The Brazilian players they have, the four young guys, are very good. Their coach is a wily old cat and he knows all about games like this. I have a good relationship with [Lucescu]; we spoke many times by telephone in relation to [Dmytro] Chygrynskiy. I believe in my team and the players at my disposal. When these games get closer we are capable of bringing out the best in ourselves."
Chygrynskiy played for Shakhtar in all three of their recent fixture as well as their 2-0 group defeat of Barcelona in 2004/05, but switched to the Camp Nou immediately after the 2009 UEFA Super Cup only to return to Donetsk last summer. The 24-year-old defender said: "The games against Barcelona will be thrilling. Our opponents need no introduction. They have got weaknesses of their own but it's not that easy to exploit them. Today I will probably call Maxwell, my former Barça team-mate, and advise him to be very well prepared for our visit."
Unlike three-time champions Barcelona, who will face Real Madrid CF in the semi-finals if both win their ties, Shakhtar are in the last eight for the first time. Lucescu, though, would rather have drawn someone else.
I'd prefer to have played against one of the English clubs because I think we would feel more confident," said Lucescu. "We have beaten Arsenal at home, and we also defeated Dynamo Kyiv and Braga, who went past English teams in the Europa League.
"Of course, it will be very difficult to face Barcelona, they are undoubted favourites in this tie. We are perfectly aware of how Barça like to play, though we are not a secret to them as well. For a club from eastern Europe, being among the last eight in the Champions League is a fantastic achievement. But we are not going to finish here and will do our best to go further."
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