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Shakhtar start for Nordsjælland debutants

FC Nordsjælland's debut appearance in the UEFA Champions League takes them to Ukraine to face an FC Shakhtar Donetsk side who are embarking on their eighth campaign.

Shakhtar are hoping for more to celebrate on matchday one
Shakhtar are hoping for more to celebrate on matchday one ©FC Shakhtar Donetsk

FC Nordsjælland begin their UEFA Champions League adventure with an away game against FC Shakhtar Donetsk, the Ukraine double winners who are embarking on their eighth group stage campaign.

Previous meetings
• This is the teams' first competitive meeting but they did come face to face in a friendly on 1 February 2011 in Elche, Spain during their winter camps. Shakhtar were 3-1 winners in the Copa del Sol tournament quarter-final thanks to goals from Henrik Mkhitaryan, Alex Teixeira and Dmytro Chygrynskiy, Matti Lund Nielsen scoring the Danish team's late reply.

• The lineups for the game were:
Shakhtar: Pyatov, Srna, Chygrynskiy, Rakitskiy, Raţ, Hübschman (Stepanenko 63), Mkhitaryan, Douglas Costa (Moreno 69), Jadson (Alex Teixeira 46), Willian (Eduardo 46), Luiz Adriano (Vytsenets 63).
Nordsjælland: Hansen, Kildentoft (Handel 65), Adu, Stokholm (Christensen 61), Mikkelsen (Ayanoglu 71), Oviedo, Nordstrandt (Granskov 69), Parkhurst, Gyutkyar (Nielsen 74), Laudrup, Jensen.

• This is the first European game for Nordsjælland against opponents from Ukraine while Shakhtar have only faced one Danish team before. That came in the 1983/84 European Cup Winners' Cup first round when they beat B 1901 Nykøbing 5-1 away and 4-2 at home.

Match background
• Shakhtar have not won any of their last four UEFA Champions League home games, two defeats coming either side of two draws. Last season they drew 1-1 at home to APOEL FC and 2-2 with FC Zenit St Petersburg before a 2-0 home defeat by FC Porto ensured they finished bottom of the group.

• Their 2-1 defeat at Porto on matchday one last term was the first time in five seasons that Shakhtar had failed to kick off their group stage campaigns – four in the UEFA Champions League and the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League – with a victory.

• Nordsjælland won their maiden Danish Superliga title with a 3-0 victory against AC Horsens on the final day of last season to hold off the challenge of FC København, who had picked up the prize the previous three years.

• Nordsjælland have had four campaigns in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League but only managed to get through to the first round proper twice. On each occasion they lost to Greek opponents, going down to Panionios GSS in 2003/04 and Olympiacos FC in 2008/09.

• Last year the Farum club were knocked out of the UEFA Europa League in the play-off round, beaten 2-1 by Sporting Clube de Portugal in the second leg after the game in Denmark had ended goalless.

Team ties
• Mircea Lucescu scored one of his nine international goals against Denmark in a qualifier for the 1976 UEFA European Championship, Romania winning 6-1 in Bucharest on 11 May 1975. As Romania coach Lucescu masterminded a 1-0 victory over Denmark in Bucharest on 1 September 1982.

• Anders Christiansen was part of the Denmark team which drew 2-2 with Ukraine in Herning on 28 March last year in a friendly ahead of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

• Kasper Lorentzen was in the Denmark team which defeated Ukraine 3-2 in a qualification match for the 2005 European U21 Championship at Farum Park on 3 September 2004.

• Jesper Hansen, Henrik Kildentoft and Lorentzen were in the Denmark U17 team which defeated Ukraine 6-5 on penalties on 9 September 2001 at a friendly tournament in Poland.

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