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Shakhtar to pose another tough test for Nordsjælland

FC Nordsjælland came close to a first UEFA Champions League victory in their last home game and will be hoping to go one step further against Group E leaders FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

Nordsjælland were close to a famous win in their last home fixture
Nordsjælland were close to a famous win in their last home fixture ©AFP/Getty Images

FC Nordsjælland were only nine minutes from registering their first UEFA Champions League victory in their last home game and will be hoping to go one step further against Group E leaders FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

• When the teams met on 19 September, Nordsjælland's debut in the competition, Henrikh Mkhitaryan proved decisive, scoring his first UEFA Champions League goals to give Shakhtar a 2-0 victory.

• Nordsjælland followed that with a 4-0 home defeat by Chelsea FC but came close to upsetting Juventus in their next fixture. Only a late equaliser earned the Italian side a 1-1 draw, before Juve flexed their muscles in the Turin return with a 4-0 victory.

• Shakhtar drew 1-1 at Juve on matchday two and then beat Chelsea 2-1 in Ukraine before succumbing to a late winner a 3-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

• Shakhtar remain top of the section on seven points, level with Chelsea and one ahead of Juventus. Nordsjælland have a single point and must win both their last two games to have any chance of European football in the spring.

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

• The lineups 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.

• Shakhtar are the first opponents from Ukraine that Nordsjælland have faced while the Donetsk club have only played one other Danish team. 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
• Nordsjælland have had four campaigns in the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League, reaching 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 by Sporting Clube de Portugal at the first hurdle for the second season in a row, losing 2-1 away from home after a goalless first leg in the play-offs.

• The Danish champions have won only three of their nine home games in UEFA competition; the Juventus draw extended their winless run on their own turf to five matches, three of which ended in defeat. Indeed, Nordsjælland are without a victory in ten European games home and away, losing eight; their last win was 2-1 at home to Queen of the South FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round.

• Shakhtar began last season's group stage with a 2-1 defeat at FC Porto and also lost 1-0 away to FC Zenit St Petersburg. They concluded with a 2-0 victory at APOEL FC – the only win in their last six European away fixtures – but still finished fourth in the section.

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 win against Denmark in Bucharest on 1 September 1982.

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

• Kasper Lorentzen was in the Denmark team that 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 that defeated Ukraine 6-5 on penalties on 9 September 2001 at a friendly tournament in Poland.

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