Already Ukraine's maiden representatives in the last four of the UEFA Cup, old rivals FC Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Dynamo Kyiv will be desperate to become the country's very first team to reach the final of the competition.
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Already Ukraine's maiden representatives in the last four of the UEFA Cup, both FC Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Dynamo Kyiv will be desperate to become the country's first team to reach the final of the competition.
Previous European meetings: none
• This season produced the first ever contest between two Ukrainian sides in UEFA club matches when Dynamo came up against compatriots FC Metalist Kharkiv in the UEFA Cup Round of 16, Dynamo going through on away goals after a 1-0 home win was followed up by a 3-2 away loss.
• Before this season, no Ukrainian team had ventured as far as the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. This is also the first time a club from the country has reached the semi-finals of a UEFA club competition since Dynamo fell just short of the UEFA Champions League final in 1998/99.
Previous domestic meetings
• Dynamo have enjoyed the upper hand in league encounters with Shakhtar, having won 15 and lost eight of their 34 meetings since the inaugural Ukrainian Premier League season in 1992.
• Dynamo's record is even more convincing at home, where the Bilo-Syni (White-Blues) have emerged triumphant in ten of 16 meetings and only experienced defeat on two occasions.
• Shakhtar's most recent league victory at the Valeri Lobanovskiy Stadium came on 15 July 2004, when Mariusz Lewandowski and Igor Duljaj struck in a 2-0 win. Both players could well feature against Dynamo in the UEFA Cup semi-finals.
• Shakhtar won the so-called 'Golden Match' between the two teams at the end of the 2005/06 campaign. With both sides level on points at the top of the table, a play-off game was held in Krivoy Rog to decide the destination of the title and Nigerian striker Julius Aghahowa's extra-time goal sealed a 2-1 victory for the Pitmen.
• The two clubs also crossed paths 82 times in the old Soviet league, with Dynamo prevailing in exactly half of those games, Shakhtar winning 15 times and the other 26 matches ending with the scores level.
• In cup encounters, the two rivals have faced each other ten times since independence. Five of those meetings have come in the Ukrainian Cup – on each occasion in the final – with Dynamo triumphant on three occasions to Shakhtar's two.
• The other five games have come in the Ukrainian Super Cup, which, since its inauguration in 2004, has been contested by Dynamo and Shakhtar every year. Four of those matches have ended in penalties – with either side claiming two wins – while the only game to end after 90 minutes resulted in a 2-0 success for Dynamo in 2006.
• During the Soviet era, the two clubs locked horns nine times in cup fixtures. Dynamo won their only Soviet Super Cup encounter and prevailed in two of their three Soviet Cup contests, with Shakhtar edging the other. In the USSR Federation Cup, meanwhile, Shakhtar triumphed in three of five games, Dynamo winning one and the other ending in a draw.
• The domestic rivals will face each other at least four times between now and the end of the season. Aside from their UEFA Cup matches, they will also come together on 13 May in a postponed Ukrainian Cup semi-final originally due to be held on 22 April. They will also meet in Kiev on 26 May in the last game of the Premier League season.
• Shakhtar won the previous league match between the two clubs this season 1-0 in Donetsk on 16 November 2008, Willian firing the winner after 35 minutes.
• Dynamo coach Yuri Semin has some prior experience of facing Ukrainian opposition in European club competition, with his FC Lokomotiv Moskva side coming up against both Shakhtar and his current outfit in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League.
• Semin's then team beat Shakhtar 3-1 at home after a 1-0 away reverse to reach the group stage, where they lost 2-0 at Dynamo before prevailing 3-2 in the return fixture.
• Lewandowski, Olexiy Gai and Răzvan Raţ started for Shakhtar in both legs of that first tie, with Darijo Srna introduced from the bench in each game and Lewandowski scoring in the second match.
• Maksim Shatskikh, Tiberiu Ghioane, Andriy Nesmachniy, Olexandr Shovkovskiy and Oleh Gusev all started for Dynamo in their first meeting with Lokomotiv in 2003/04, while Florin Cernat was brought on as a substitute and Artem Milevskiy remained an unused replacement. When the teams came together in Russia, Shovkovskiy was again in goal, starting alongside goalscorer Shatskikh, Ghioane, Nesmachniy, Gusev and Goran Sabljić, while Badr El Kaddouri and Ayila Yussuf stayed on the bench.
• Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu came up against Dynamo during his time in charge of Beşiktaş JK in the third round of the UEFA Cup in 2002/03, winning the home leg 3-1 and drawing 0-0 away before exiting to S.S. Lazio at the quarter-final stage.
• Shatskikh, Ghioane, Nesmachniy all started the first leg of that tie, with Cernat coming on as a replacement and both Shovkovskiy and El Kaddouri unused substitutes. Shovkovskiy and El Kaddouri then started the return game, along with Shatskikh, Ghioane and Sabljić, Nesmachniy this time sitting out the contest on the bench.
• Dynamo midfielder Serhiy Kravchenko began his career with the Shakhtar youth and reserve teams, leaving the club in 2005. Similarly, Shakhtar stand-in goalkeeper Rustam Khudzhamov learnt the ropes at Dynamo without ever playing a league game for the first team. Shakhtar defender Volodymyr Yezerskiy made five Premier League appearances apiece in the 1998/99 and 1999/00 campaigns for Dynamo, both of which ended with the capital side winning the title.
• Legendary Soviet striker and Dynamo coach Valeri Lobanovskiy ended his playing days at Shakhtar, where he stayed between 1967 and 1968. Another famous Dynamo name, Oleg Bazilevich, who worked as Lobanovskiy's assistant during their triumphant UEFA Cup Winners' Cup campaign in 1974/75, coached Shakhtar on two occasions, in 1972/73 and 1986. Former Dynamo forward Anatoliy Byshovets coached the Pitmen in 1998/99.
• Players often transferred between the two clubs in Soviet times – not least former Shakhtar players Anatoliy Konkov, who went on to win the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with Dynamo in 1974/75, and Viktor Chanov, who lifted the same trophy with the Bilo-Syni in 1985/86. More recently, Shakhtar old boy Serhiy Rebrov turned out for Dynamo from 1992 to 2000 and then again from 2005 to 2008.
• Four current Dynamo players reached the 2006 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals with Ukraine: Shovkovskiy, Nesmachniy, Gusev and Milevskiy. Shakhtar also had four players in that squad: Yezerskiy, Bohdan Shust, Andriy Pyatov and Dmytro Chygrynskiy.
• Dynamo players Taras Mikhalik and Olexandr Aliyev were both runners-up with Ukraine at the 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Portugal alongside Shakhtar's Pyatov, Mykola Ischenko and Chygrynskiy.
• Dynamo's Ognjen Vukojević played for Croatia at UEFA EURO 2008™ with Shakhtar captain Srna. Dynamo defender Sabljić was not selected for the squad but made five appearances for Croatia between 2002 and 2006 and was Srna's team-mate at HNK Hajduk Split from 1999 to 2003.
• Cernat of Dynamo and Shakhtar's Raţ are Romanian internationals, having both made their debuts in 2002.
• Dynamo's Carlos Corrêa was briefly a colleague of Shakhtar's Ilsinho at Brazilian side SE Palmeiras in the first half of 2006. Likewise, Dynamo defender Betão was a team-mate of Shakhtar midfielder Willian at SC Corinthians Paulista between 2005 and 2007.
• Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko expressed her gratitude to Dynamo, Shakhtar and eliminated Metalist for their achievements after the three Premier League teams competed in the Round of 16, saying their success augured well for Ukraine's co-hosting of UEFA EURO 2012™.
Route to semi-finals
• Runners-up in the Ukrainian Premier League last season, Dynamo finished third in UEFA Champions League Group G to reach the UEFA Cup Round of 32. Having overcome Valencia CF on away goals to reach the Round of 16, drawing 1-1 in Ukraine and 2-2 in Spain, they then got the better of Metalist via the same method. That set up a last-eight tie with Paris Saint-Germain FC and, after drawing 0-0 in France, Semin's men triumphed 3-0 at home.
• Ukrainian champions Shakhtar finished third in UEFA Champions League Group C to reach the UEFA Cup Round of 32, where they beat Tottenham Hotspur FC 2-0 at home before drawing the return leg 1-1 in London. They lost 1-0 at PFC CSKA Moskva in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie but progressed after a 2-0 home success. Like Dynamo, the Pitmen then faced French opposition in the quarter-finals, beating Olympique de Marseille 2-0 in Donetsk and 2-1 at the Stade Vélodrome.
• Shakhtar are the only team left in the UEFA Cup who qualified for Europe this season as domestic champions.
• The second leg will be contested at the RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium on 7 May. The winners of this tie will be the nominal home side in the final at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul on 20 May, where they will face either Werder Bremen or Hamburger SV.
Dynamo: In the last four of the UEFA Cup for the first time, Dynamo have scored at least once in all six of their European home games since the start of this season's UEFA Champions League.
Last five European games: DWLDW
Last five European home games: LWDWW
Top scorer (Europe): Artem Kravets (2), Milevskiy (2), Vukojević (2)
& Ismaël Bangoura (2, including 1 in the UEFA Champions League)
Last five domestic games: WWWLW
Last five domestic home games: WWWWW
Top scorer (Premier League): Bangoura and Aliyev (12)
Shakhtar: Making their first appearance in a UEFA Cup semi-final, the Pitmen have won three of their last seven UEFA Cup away games and also celebrated two away successes in this year's UEFA Champions League group stage.
Last five European games: DLWWW
Last five European away games: LWDLW
Top scorer (Europe): Jadson (6, including 4 in the UEFA Champions League)
Last five domestic games: WWLWW
Last five domestic away games: WWWLW
Top scorer (Premier League): Fernandinho, Olexandr Gladkiy (5)
Dynamo: Aliyev and Mikhalik are within a caution of one-match bans.
Shakhtar: Ischenko returns from suspension, while Tomáš Hübschman, Olexandr Kucher, Fernandinho, Luiz Adriano and Srna are all within a booking of suspension.
• UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1974/75, 1985/86
• UEFA Super Cup: 1975
• Domestic honours: 12 Ukrainian titles, 9 Ukrainian Cups, 13 Soviet titles, 9 USSR Cups
• Founded in 1927, the club were a thorn in the side of the big Moscow teams during the Soviet era, winning a record 13 titles. Since independence they have dominated Ukrainian football, winning 12 titles and nine Ukrainian Cups.
• Two Dynamo players won the Ballon d'Or while at the club – Oleh Blokhin in 1975 and Igor Belanov in 1986. A third, Andriy Shevchenko, took the title in 2004, having left for AC Milan in 1999.
• A winger for Dynamo in the 1950s and 1960s, coach Lobanovskiy led Dynamo to their landmark European successes and guided the Soviet Union to a runners-up finish at the 1988 UEFA European Championship. Following his death in 2002, Dynamo renamed their home stadium in his honour and erected a statue to his memory outside.
• Domestic honours: 4 Ukrainian titles, 6 Ukrainian Cups, 4 USSR Cups
• Founded in 1936 as FC Stakhanovets, the Donbass side took on their current name in 1946. Shakhtar's name literally means 'Miner'. Their nicknames, Hirnyky (the Pitmen) and Kroty (the Moles), also refer to their colliery roots.
• Shakhtar won four USSR Cups in the days of the Soviet Union and twice finished second in the league, in 1975 and 1979. In the latter season, Vitaliy Starukhin scored 26 goals and was named the Soviet Union's Player of the Year.
• Famous Shakhtar youth academy products include former Manchester United FC player Andrei Kanchelskis, one-time Russia captain Viktor Onopko and Rebrov, while Shakhtar old boy Konkov was a member of the USSR squad that came second at the 1972 UEFA European Championship.