Real Madrid begin their 20th group stage campaign at home against Shakhtar Donetsk, who are used to making the journey to Spain for matchday one fixtures.
Article top media content
Real Madrid CF's 20th group stage campaign begins with an intriguing first-ever encounter with FC Shakhtar Donetsk, who have had matchday one assignments in Spain in their last two seasons.
• Rafael Benítez takes charge of Madrid for the first time in the competition after his summer appointment. He was a UEFA Champions League winner with Liverpool FC in 2005 and has lifted the UEFA Cup with Valencia CF in 2004 and the UEFA Europa League with Chelsea FC in 2013.
• The ten-times winners began last season with a 5-1 home win over FC Basel 1983 and in 45 European Cup campaigns have failed to win their opening home game only twice, most recently a 3-3 draw against RSC Anderlecht in 1962.
• Madrid have won all three group home games for the past two campaigns – scoring ten goals each time – but their 11-game winning home streak in the competition ended when they went down 4-3 at home to FC Schalke 04 in last season's round of 16 second leg.
• That defeat also curtailed the Blancos' ten-match winning sequence in the tournament, home and away. Moreover, it was their first defeat in 22 UEFA Champions League games at the Santiago Bernabéu, with 19 of those games won.
• Madrid beat Schalke 5-4 overall last season and after a 1-0 home and aggregate win against Club Atlético de Madrid in the quarter-finals, advanced to a fifth successive semi-final where they lost to Juventus (1-2 away, 1-1 home).
• Madrid have won four and drawn two of their six home fixtures with Ukrainian visitors. With the exception of a 1985/86 UEFA Cup victory over FC Chornomorets Odesa (2-1 at home and on aggregate) they were all against FC Dynamo Kyiv.
• Overall their record against Ukrainian sides is W5 D6 L1.
• The Ukrainian Premier League runners-up are in their 11th group stage campaign.
• Twelve months ago Shakhtar drew 0-0 at Athletic Club on matchday one. They have enjoyed winning starts in European group stage competition in six of their last eight campaigns and recorded five matchday one victories out of their last seven in the UEFA Champions League.
• In 2013/14 Shakhtar won 2-0 at Real Sociedad de Fútbol on matchday one; overall their record away to Liga clubs is W2 D2 L5.
• Shakhtar lost the 2009 UEFA Super Cup 1-0 against Barcelona in Monaco.
• Shakhtar's best performance in the UEFA Champions League came in 2010/11 when they reached the quarter-finals.
• Their other away group games last season brought a win at FC BATE Borisov and draw at FC Porto to finish second in Group H. In the round of 16 they lost 7-0 at FC Bayern München after a 0-0 home draw.
Coach and player links
• Ukraine's Andriy Pyatov, Olexandr Kucher and Vyacheslav Shevchuk faced Croatia's Luka Modrić twice in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Modrić scored in a 2-2 draw in Zagreb on 6 June 2009.
• Toni Kroos opened the scoring for Germany against a Ukraine side including Kucher and Yaroslav Rakitskiy in a 3-3 friendly draw in Kyiv on 11 November 2011.
• France's Karim Benzema scored past Pyatov in a 3-0 win against Ukraine in a 2014 World Cup play-off in Paris on 19 November 2013. Raphaël Varane was also in the France team; Kucher, Rakitskiy, Vyacheslav Shevchuk and Taras Stepanenko featured for Ukraine.
• International team-mates:
Eduardo, Darijo Srna & Modrić, Mateo Kovačić (Croatia)
Fred & Marcelo, Danilo, Casemiro (Brazil).
• Cristiano Ronaldo scored five as Madrid won 6-0 at RCD Espanyol on Saturday.
• Ronaldo's haul means he is now Madrid's all-time league leading scorer with 230 Liga goals. Raúl González was the previous record holder with 228.
• Keylor Navas saved a penalty during Madrid's 5-0 Liga win against Real Betis Balompié on 29 August.
• James Rodríguez sustained a left thigh injury while playing for Colombia against Peru on 8 September and is a doubt for matchday one. Danilo (foot) could also miss out.
• Shakhtar have lost just once in 13 matches in all competitions this season.
• Alex Teixeira, the 17-goal joint-leading marksman in the Ukrainian Premier League last term, has scored nine in seven appearances this campaign.
• Viktor Kovalenko, 19, received his first call-up to the Ukraine squad for their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifiers against Belarus and Slovakia this month but did not play.