FC Shakhtar Donetsk are on the verge of the knockout stages for the first time and need just a point against a SC Braga side who know only a victory will keep alive their own chances.
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Wins in their last two fixtures have put FC Shakhtar Donetsk on the brink of the UEFA Champions League knockout stages for the first time and a point against SC Braga will be enough to confirm their place – although the Portuguese side have qualification aspirations of their own.
• Shakhtar are three points ahead of their Matchday 6 opponents, who are level on points with Arsenal FC but behind the London club on head-to-head record. While a draw would ensure Shakhtar win the group, Braga must better the result Arsenal manage at home to FK Partizan, who are already guaranteed to finish bottom; should the English club win, the Portuguese team will need to beat Shakhtar by four goals or more to extend their first UEFA Champions League campaign into the spring.
• The Ukraine team came out on top in the corresponding fixture on 28 September. Two second-half strikes by Luiz Adriano and a late Douglas Costa spot-kick gave Mircea Lucescu's side maximum points from two games.
• It was the first time Braga had crossed paths with a team from Ukraine while Shakhtar – who are in their sixth UEFA Champions League campaign and hoping to advance from the group stage for the first time – have played four European games at home to Portuguese visitors and are still to win.
• The Ukrainian champions have done better in away games, winning at SL Benfica and Boavista FC in advance of this season's 3-0 victory in Braga. At home they lost to Sporting Clube de Portugal in 2008/09 and Benfica the previous season, both in the UEFA Champions League group stage and both 1-0, while the visits of Boavista and FC Porto ended in 1-1 draws.
• Having started with a 1-0 defeat of Partizan, Shakhtar equalled their best start to a UEFA Champions League campaign with the victory at Braga. After clean sheets in their opening two games it was something of a surprise when Mircea Lucescu's team then conceded five goals away to Arsenal, responding only with Eduardo's late effort on his return to his former club.
• The Croatian international was the decisive figure on Matchday 4, however, securing a 2-1 win against the Gunners after Shakhtar had come from a goal down. The Ukrainian side were 3-0 winners in Belgrade on Matchday 5.
• Braga have come a long way since their first two fixtures when the 6-0 defeat at Arsenal on their group stage debut was followed by the home defeat by Shakhtar.
• The Portuguese club showed more of their best form on the next two matchdays, defeating Partizan 2-0 at home and 1-0 away, before a 2-0 triumph against Arsenal in their final home fixture enabled them to join the London side on nine points.
• Alex Teixeira and Elton were team-mates in 2009/10 with CR Vasco da Gama.
• Luiz Adriano played alongside Mossoró for SC Internacional during 2006/07.
• Marcelo Moreno was part of the EC Vitória squad in 2005/06 along with Felipe and then, following his transfer to Cruzeiro EC in 2007, he linked up with Léo Fortunato for two seasons.
• Hugo Viana was an unused substitute for Valencia CF in a 2-0 win against Shakhtar in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage. Two weeks later in Donetsk he came off the bench and helped his team to a 2-2 draw.
• Shakhtar coach Lucescu was in charge of Romania when they lost 1-0 to Portugal in a UEFA European Championship Group B fixture in Nantes on 20 June 1984. In January 1985, Romania turned the tables with a 3-2 friendly win in Lisbon.
• Former Portuguese international defender Fernando Couto, the director of football at Braga, played in two 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine, scoring the only goal in Portugal's 1-0 win at Estádio das Antas on 9 November 1996. He also played 37 minutes of S.S. Lazio's 3-0 win at Shakhtar on 12 September 2000 in the UEFA Champions League first group stage having appeared as a second-half substitute, playing all of the 5-1 home win the following month.