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FC Shakhtar Donetsk's fighting spirit will be to the fore as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of their tie against FC Salzburg.
Having invested heavily over the summer, Shakhtar are determined to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage, with Mexican midfielder Nery Alberto Castillo epitomising their resolve. Despite suffering a broken nose in his first game for the club, he has decided to play in Wednesday's game wearing a protective mask, saying: "We have to win this match to get to the UEFA Champions League."
Italian striker Cristiano Lucarelli was determined to get the right result to honour the memory of technical director Viktor Prokopenko, who died a few days after the first leg. "The trip to Salzburg turned out to be his last outing with the club, but we lost," he said. "That is why everyone in the team will do their best to get the right result. We will fight for him as well."
Shakhtar captain Dmytro Chygrynskiy's handball led to the penalty that gave Alexander Zickler the chance to put Salzburg ahead in the first leg, and he is looking to make amends in Donetsk. "I must be a villain in the eyes of our supporters at the moment," he said. "However that does not mean I will rush toward the opponents' goal right after the whistle to put things right. Salzburg are serious opponents and we are preparing for this match very carefully."
Beaten 4-0 on aggregate at the same stage of the competition by Valencia CF last year, Salzburg have never been closer to their dream of a group stage place, and thanks to Zickler's penalty in the first leg, they travel to the RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium with a lead to defend. Salzburg sporting director Oliver Kreuzer said: "It is going to be the match of matches"
A sell-out crowd of 25,500 will look to intimidate Giovanni Trapattoni's men, who have only won one away game this season - beating FK Ventspils 3-0 in Riga in the second qualifying round - but warmed up for Wednesday's game with a 3-1 win against FC Wacker Tirol at the weekend. "It was just about winning - we didn't give it everything we have," admitted Niko Kovač afterwards.
They will hope to make a more whole-hearted effort in Donetsk with Zickler back on top form after recovering from a back problem. "I have my pace back," said the German. Swiss midfielder Johan Vonlanthen added: "We have to close down the space in midfield even more than we did at home. [Shakhtar] are weak on the wings, though, since they just have wing-backs and no midfielders."
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