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Barcelona to test Shakhtar credentials

FC Shakhtar Donetsk ended Matchday 1 level on three points with FC Barcelona but the way they perform when the Spanish side visit Ukraine will provide a better idea of their prospects of lasting the pace in Group C.

Jadson and Brandão celebrate Shakhtar's Matchday 1 win at Basel
Jadson and Brandão celebrate Shakhtar's Matchday 1 win at Basel ©Getty Images

After starting their Group C campaign with three points against FC Basel 1893, FC Shakhtar Donetsk have an opportunity to really underline their intent when FC Barcelona come to town on Matchday 2.

• Shakhtar have failed to reach the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League in four previous attempts and last season fell away badly after winning their opening two games. Yet they began well in Basel on 16 September as strikes from Fernandinho (25) and Jadson (45+1) earned a 2-1 victory over the Swiss champions, for whom David Abraham (90+3) hit a belated reply.

• A second win, against Barcelona, would boost the hosts' hopes of making a long-awaited impact on the competition but Josep Guardiola's men are likely to have other ideas.

• Barcelona opened their campaign with a 3-1 triumph over Sporting Clube de Portugal. Rafael Márquez (21) and Samuel Eto'o (60, penalty) scored to put them in control and although Sporting responded through Tonel in the 72nd minute, Xavi Hernández added a third (87) to secure three points for the two-times champions.

• Shakhtar may take encouragement from the fact they have recorded a win and a draw on Barcelona's two previous visits.

• It finished 1-1 when the sides first met in Donetsk in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round. Hans Krankl equalised Yuri Reznik's early goal for the home team as Barcelona, who went on to lift the trophy that year, completed a 4-1 aggregate triumph.

• Their second encounter in Ukraine came at the end of the 2004/05 group stage when Shakhtar defeated Barcelona 2-0 to seal third place in the section – behind first-placed AC Milan and the second-placed Blaugrana – and entry into the UEFA Cup Round of 32.

• Then, as now, Mircea Lucescu was at the Shakhtar helm and his charges prevailed through two Julius Agahowa strikes after 14 and 22 minutes.

• The full lineups for that fixture on 7 December 2004 were:
Shakhtar: Jan Laštuvka, Tomáš Hübschman, Mariusz Lewandowski, Cosmin Barcauan, Flavius Stoican (Dmytro Chygrynskiy), Igor Duljaj, Matuzalem, Darijo Srna (Nenad Lalatović), Zvonimir Vukić, Brandão (Andriy Vorobey), Julius Agahowa.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés, Juliano Belletti, Carles Puyol (Oleguer Presas), Fernando Navarro, Sylvinho, Joan Verdú, Xavi Hernández, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Francisco Peral (Rodri), Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta.

• Barcelona had earlier beaten Shakhtar 3-0 at the Camp Nou courtesy of goals from Deco (15), Ronaldinho (64, penalty) and Eto'o (89).

• Shakhtar's overall home record against Spanish opposition is W1 D3 L1.

• The Ukrainian club's most recent home assignment against visitors from Spain brought a dramatic 3-2 defeat by Sevilla FC in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup Round of 16.

• After earning a 2-2 draw in Seville, Lucescu's team looked like they were heading through when they led 2-1 going into the fourth minute of added time. But up popped opposition goalkeeper Andrés Palop to equalise and the turnaround was complete when Ernesto Chevantón struck a third goal for the visitors in extra time.

• Barcelona have won only once in six preceding visits to Ukraine. Their record in the country is W1 D2 L3.

• Barcelona coach Guardiola twice played in Ukraine in UEFA club competition ties against Shakhtar's rivals FC Dynamo Kyiv. In 1991/92 he was in the side that prevailed 2-0 in Kiev in the group stage of the European Champion Clubs' Cup and proceeded to win the trophy for the first time.

• Two seasons later Guardiola was on the losing team in a 3-1 defeat by Dynamo in the UEFA Champions League first round, though they recovered to win the return leg 4-1 and went all the way to the final before succumbing to Milan.

• Shakhtar picked up just three points from a possible nine at home in the UEFA Champions League in 2007/08, beating Celtic FC (2-0) in their first outing but then losing to Milan (0-3) and SL Benfica (1-2). They showed winning form in their most recent European home tie, however, defeating NK Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 in the third qualifying round.

• Barcelona won half of their six away games in last season's UEFA Champions League, recording victories over VfB Stuttgart (2-0), Celtic (3-2) and FC Schalke 04 (1-0). Their sole reverse came in their semi-final second leg against Manchester United FC, which they lost 1-0.

• Shakhtar defender Volodymyr Yezerskiy was in the Ukraine side beaten 4-0 by a Spain team featuring Barcelona duo Carles Puyol and Xavi at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

• Sporting will take on Basel in the other Group C fixture on Matchday 2.