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Preview: Athletic v Shakhtar Donetsk

Ernesto Valverde urges Athletic Club to be back with a bang as they start their second group stage campaign against an FC Shakhtar Donetsk side in familiar surroundings.

Ernesto Valverde is happy to be starting at home
Ernesto Valverde is happy to be starting at home ©AFP/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde eager for winning start against "dangerous" Shakhtar side
Athletic's coach pleased to be beginning at their newly completed home
The Pitmen kicked off last year's group stage with 2-0 victory at Real Sociedad
Shakhtar have won eight out of eight in 2014/15, conceding only once
Mircea Lucescu keen to expoit Shakhtar's UEA Champions League experience

Possible lineups
Athletic: Iraizoz; De Marcos, San José, Laporte, Balenziaga; Iturraspe, Mikel Rico; Susaeta, Beñat, Muniain; Aduriz.
Out: None

Shakhtar: Kanibolotskiy, Srna, Kucher, Rakitskiy, Azevedo, Stepanenko, Fernando, Douglas Costa, Teixeira, Taison, Adriano.
Out: None

Ernesto Valverde, Athletic coach
We are fortunate to be playing our first game at home, with the crowd behind us. We have to make the most of it, to make a good start by claiming all three points. Victory is our objective. A win would be a massive step and we will do everything to get it.

Shakhtar are a dangerous team going forward. They usually take the initiative and they have very fast players in attack, like Douglas and Teixeira. We have to be very careful because they are good and dangerous when they get space, and they are used to winning. That's a big plus for them.

They are good on the counterattack but they also know how to defend. We have to be patient to break down their defensive system. They are in good form, a long way clear at the top of the Ukrainian league, and with a relatively settled side. All their players who played here last year against La Real are still here. We have watched that game a lot.

©AFP/Getty Images

Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
The important thing is to reach the Champions League and that's why every year we try to do well in our championship, to return to the Champions League.

Our group stage in the Champions League starts at San Mamés, where there is a great atmosphere, and we hope our performance will allow us to move forward in the Champions League.

We'll try to play to win and we feel the responsibility to represent our fans. But what concerns us now is the Champions League and to win at Athletic, a very strong team.

We have analysed Athletic – their play-off tie against Napoli and other videos. Athletic have players with some specific qualities, such as Beñat and [Ander] Iturraspe, and they know how to use them. But we believe we can draw on our experience in Champions League matches

Weekend results
FC Barcelona 2-0 Athletic (Neymar 79 84)
FC Chornomorets Odesa 0-2 Shakhtar (Fernando 27, Gladkiy 90)

Form guide (all competitions)
Athletic: LWWLD
Shakhtar: WWWWWW

Match facts
• How did Athletic fare in their sole previous UEFA Champions League group stage campaign, in 1998/99? Find out in our extensive match background.