Real Sociedad de Fútbol kick off their first UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in a decade with a home match against experienced Group A rivals FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
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Real Sociedad de Fútbol kick off their first UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in a decade with a home match against Group A rivals FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
• Shakhtar, competing in the group stage for the ninth time, have greater recent European experience but La Real will enter the game on a wave of enthusiasm after their play-off victory over Olympique Lyonnais.
• Jagoba Arrasate's men won their first European home fixture since 2004 when beating Lyon 2-0 in the second leg of their play-off to complete a 4-0 aggregate success. They had earned their place in the play-offs by finishing fourth in the 2012/13 Spanish Liga.
• This is La Real's first taste of European competition since their debut UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in 2003/04 when they finished second in a group containing Juventus, Galatasaray AŞ and Olympiacos FC before losing to Lyon in the round of 16.
• Ukrainian title holders Shakhtar have a recent history of winning starts in European group campaigns. Last season's 2-0 home success against FC Nordsjælland was their fifth matchday one win in their last six UEFA competition campaigns and a fourth from five in the UEFA Champions League.
• Last season Shakhtar had mixed fortunes on their travels in the UEFA Champions League. They drew 1-1 at Juventus, won 5-2 at Nordsjælland but lost at both Chelsea FC (2-3) and – in the round of 16 – at Borussia Dortmund (0-3).
• Shakhtar lost 5-1 at FC Barcelona on their last visit to Spain in the 2010/11 quarter-finals. Yaroslav Rakitskiy was the scorer for Mircea Lucescu's side who also lost the return leg 1-0 in Donetsk. Besides Rakitskiy, Andriy Pyatov, Tomáš Hübschman, Luiz Adriano, Douglas Costa, Darijo Srna, Alex Teixeira and Eduardo all featured in that heavy defeat at the Camp Nou.
• Shakhtar had won 3-2 at Barcelona in the 2008/09 group stage, with Olexandr Gladkiy (2) and Fernandinho scoring to earn the club's first victory on Spanish soil at the sixth attempt. Their overall record away to Liga clubs is W1 D1 L5.
• Shakhtar lost the 2009 UEFA Super Cup 1-0 against Barcelona in Monaco.
• Shakhtar's 3-2 win at Barcelona in 2008 was the first time Lucescu had tasted victory in Spain, 35 years after he first visited the country as a player with FC Dinamo Bucureşti. The Romanian's 13 previous trips with club and country have produced seven defeats, five draws and just that one single win.
• Lucescu also oversaw Galatasaray's 2-1 triumph against Real Madrid CF in the 2000 UEFA Super Cup.
• Dmytro Chygrynskiy became the first Ukrainian to play for Barcelona when he swapped Shakhtar for the Camp Nou in August 2009. He made 12 Liga appearances and another two in the Copa del Rey before returning to Donetsk the following summer.
• Carlos Vela and Eduardo were team-mates at Arsenal from 2008 to 2010. They played together four times during 2009/10, with the Mexican coming on to replace Eduardo on another five occasions.
• Vela appeared as a 59th-minute substitute in Arsenal's 2-1 loss at Shakhtar in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage – a match in which Eduardo scored the winning goal.
• On 17 September 2008, five years to the day before this fixture, Vela made his UEFA Champions League debut as an 84th-minute substitute in a 1-1 draw at FC Dynamo Kyiv. His first start came in the return fixture which Arsenal won 1-0.
• Eduardo lost in Spain as a substitute in Arsenal's 4-1 defeat at Barcelona in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
• Haris Seferovic played against Fernando in Switzerland's 1-0 friendly win over Brazil in August.