Lucescu getting Shakhtar into shape

Mircea Lucescu's FC Shakhtar Donetsk meet an FC Schalke 04 team without two key Brazilians.

Mircea Lucescu is leaving nothing to chance as FC Shakhtar Donetsk meet an FC Schalke 04 team without two key Brazilians.

Cold conditions
Shakhtar coach Lucuescu leads his side in their first competitive game of 2005 after warm-weather camps in Spain and Turkey. However, with cold conditions forecast in Donetsk tonight, the Romanian has been concentrating on acclimatisation this week.

'Ready to play'
"We came to Donetsk specifically to have four or five days here before the match," said the coach, who has already inspected the pitch at the Olimpiyskiy stadium. "The team is working hard with great enthusiasm, despite unfavourable weather conditions. All the players are ready to play against Schalke."

Schalke danger
Lucescu, who is unlikely to select any of newly signed Brazilian trio Elano Blumer, Iván Saraiva and Jadson Rodriguez, is wary of a team joint-top of the Bundesliga. "We have analysed Schalke's game with the team for two days," he said. "Their style is Italian. They are dangerous on the ball, quick and know how to dictate the rhythm of the match. It will be important not to concede goals and to score in Donetsk."

Lincoln out
The home coach identified Lincoln as a danger, so may be relieved to hear that the Brazilian playmaker has stayed in Germany due to muscular problems along with compatriot Marcelo Bordon, who has a hamstring injury.Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick said: "I decided to let Lincoln stay at home because I do not want to risk a more serious injury."

Kristajic question
Bordon could be replaced by Mladen Kristajic as he has recovered from a respiratory illness. Rangnick said: "We will have to see if he is ready to start. Although I am not going to play him unless he is completely fit."