The worst defence and best attack in Group J collide on Matchday 6, when eliminated FK Partizan will look to get off the mark with a first UEFA Europa League point against section winners FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
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The worst defence and best attack in Group J collide on Matchday 6, when eliminated FK Partizan will be looking to get off the mark with a first UEFA Europa League point against section winners FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
• Partizan and PFC Levski Sofia are the only sides who have yet to pick up a point in the UEFA Europa League group stage, losing all five of their games to date. Partizan have conceded more goals than any other team in the group stage – 14. Last season's UEFA Cup finalists Shakhtar and Werder Bremen are the highest scoring outfits, boasting 14 efforts apiece.
• Shakhtar's first meeting with Serbian opposition ended with them beating Partizan 4-1 on Matchday 2. Ominously for the hosts, they have yet to overcome a Ukrainian side at home, their two previous Premier League guests having left with a win and a draw.
• Shakhtar reached the round of 32 on their only UEFA Cup group-stage appearance in 2005/06. They won the competition last season after transferring from the UEFA Champions League.
• Partizan played in three UEFA Cup group-stage campaigns, reaching the last 16 in 2004/05 but failing to advance in 2006/07 and 2008/09.
• Partizan recorded their biggest home victory in UEFA competition this season, beating Rhyl FC 8-0 in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round.
• Partizan have lost their last 12 UEFA club competition group-stage games, with their only win in 17 such encounters coming in their first – a 4-0 UEFA Cup defeat of Egaleo FC on 4 November 2004.
• Barring a 1-0 loss to FC Barcelona in this summer's UEFA Super Cup match, Shakhtar are unbeaten in their last six European away fixtures.
• Prior to the start of the group stage, Partizan dismissed former Yugoslavia midfielder Slaviša Jokanović as their coach, with the former CD Tenerife, RC Deportivo La Coruña and Chelsea FC player being temporarily replaced by his assistant Goran Stevanović.
• Former midfielder Stevanović, who celebrated his 43rd birthday on 27 November, started his career at Partizan, going on to play for CA Osasuna, SC Farense, Vitória FC (Setúbal), SC Campomaiorense, CF União, Veria FC and Panelefsiniakos FC, where he retired in 1999. Capped once by Yugoslavia, he has coached FK Čukarički Stankom and FK Železnik in Serbia and was Ilija Petković's assistant as Serbia and Montenegro coach from 2003 to 2006.
• Shakhtar are coached by the hugely experienced Mircea Lucescu, a 74-times capped former Romania striker who spent the bulk of his playing career with FC Dinamo 1948 Bucureşti. He won Romanian titles as a coach with both Dinamo and FC Rapid Bucureşti plus Turkish championships with Galatasaray AŞ (2001/02) and Beşiktaş JK (2002/03). Since joining Shakhtar, he has won three Ukrainian Premier League crowns and, of course, the final edition of the UEFA Cup last season.
• Lucescu took on Partizan during his time as coach of Dinamo Bucureşti, with his side winning 2-1 in Bucharest and 2-0 in Titograd – now Podgorica – in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals.
• Shakhtar's Igor Duljaj won three Serbian titles (1999, 2002 and 2003) and the 2001 domestic cup with Partizan before leaving to join his current outfit in 2004.
• Partizan defender Goran Gavrančić played in Ukraine with Shakhtar's arch-rivals FC Dynamo Kyiv (2001-08).
• SL Benfica, FC Salzburg and Shakhtar share the best defensive record in the competition to date, having each conceded just two goals in the group stage.