Shakhtar take Ukrainian crown back from Dynamo

Shakhtar had a difficult start to 2016/17 but redoubled their efforts in the Ukrainian Premier League, dropping nine points all season as they clinched the title with four games left.

Shakhtar celebrate
Shakhtar celebrate ©AFP/Getty Images

How they won it
The season started slowly for new Shakhtar Donetsk coach Paulo Fonseca, whose team lost to Dynamo Kyiv in the Ukrainian Super Cup before being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Swiss club Young Boys in qualifying. Both defeats came on penalties. The Pitmen have been supreme in the league, though. They built a 13-point lead at the summit by the winter break and secured the championship with four matches to spare courtesy of a 3-2 win against Zorya Luhansk. In fact, they have dropped only nine points all campaign.

Key number: 525
Still in fine fettle, 35-year-old right-back Darijo Srna – far and away the club's all-time record appearance maker – has now played 525 games for Shakhtar. This is the Croatian's ninth league title with his Ukrainian employers and he has signed on for the 2017/18 season.

The opposition
Dynamo are still Shakhtar's main rivals at the top, yet the deposed champions have been undergoing a rebuilding process this term and have fielded a young, inexperienced side. Though they too are well off the pace, Zorya Luhansk have emerged as the third force in Ukraine and could close further on the front two next season should they improve their strength-in-depth.

Highlights: Shakhtar exit the Europa League
Highlights: Shakhtar exit the Europa League

Make it a double?
Holders Shakhtar will look to wrap up their first domestic double since 2012/13 when they take on great rivals Dynamo in the cup final on 17 May.

Room for improvement
Without the suspended Fred, a key presence and so notable absence in midfield, Shakhtar have lacked their usual cohesion. His return next term should be a significant boost.

Biggest win: 4-0 v Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
Biggest loss: 2-1 v Chornomorets Odesa
Top scorer: Facundo Ferreyra (13)