Finalists in 2011, Braga are a step closer to a second UEFA Europa League decider, but will need a huge improvement on their last meetings with Shakhtar to make the semis.
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SC Braga came off much the worse in their previous meetings with FC Shakhtar Donetsk, but as they reconvene in the UEFA Europa League, they have cause for optimism.
• The sides met in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage with Mircea Lucescu's Shakhtar winning 3-0 away and 2-0 in Ukraine. The Pitmen topped the group, but Domingos Paciência's team finished third to earn a UEFA Europa League place, going on to reach the final.
• That campaign also included Braga's only other ties against Ukrainian opponents – 1-1 and 0-0 draws against FC Dynamo Kyiv which steered them through the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals on the away-goal rule.
• Braga have thus scored just once in four games against Ukrainian clubs, leaving them with the record W0 D2 L2 (W0 D1 L1 home and away).
• Shakhtar's 14 matches against Portuguese sides have ended W4 D4 L6 (W1 D3 L3 in Ukraine – W3 D1 L3 in Portugal).
• Braga are unbeaten in five European home fixtures this season (W4 D1).
• Shakhtar are yet to lose in this season's UEFA Europa League since entering in the round of 32 (W3 D1).
• Of the eight teams that transferred over to the competition at the end of the UEFA Champions League group stage, only Shakhtar and Sevilla remain in contention.
• Braga are through to the last eight for the first time since their finest campaign in Europe, when they were losing UEFA Europa League finalists in 2011 – having parachuted in from the UEFA Champions League group stage.
• This is the first time Shakhtar have featured in the quarter-finals since they won the final edition of the UEFA Cup in 2009.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Donetsk to Braga is not far off 3,700km, yet with Shakhtar playing their European games in Lviv, their journey comes down to 2,650km.
• Shakhtar left-back Ismaily joined the club from Braga in 2013; he spent a single season with the Arsenalistas.
• Braga's Rui Fonte was on the books at Arsenal FC from 2006–09 while Shakhtar's Eduardo was in the Gunners' first team.
• Braga's Rafa Silva and Sparta's Bořek Dočkal have provided four assists this term – more than any other players left in the tournament.
• Braga are now the most fouled side in the competition with 151 infringements against them over the ten matchdays – 27 more than any other team still in contention.
• Of the quarter-finalists, Liverpool (1973, 1976 and 2001), Sevilla (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015) and Shakhtar (2009) have won this trophy before, while Athletic (1977 and 2012), Braga (2011) and Dortmund (1993 and 2002) have all lost in previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League finals.
• Shakhtar boast the player (Darijo Srna, 132) and the coach (Lucescu, 210) who have appeared in the most UEFA club competition matches among the last-eight contenders.
• Appointed to the Braga hot seat last summer, former defender Paulo Fonseca, 43, had a low-key playing career. Having made his name in the second division as boss of CD Aves, Fonseca twice coached FC Paços de Ferreira in the top flight either side of a stint at FC Porto, where he was once on the books as a player.
• Lucescu has occupied the Shakhtar helm since 2004 and has led the Pitmen to eight Ukrainian titles and five national cups as well as the 2009 UEFA Cup. The one-time striker, 70, has coached in Romania and Italy and lifted back-to-back Turkish titles with different clubs in the early 2000s.