Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester United
UEFA Champions League – Wednesday 2nd October, 2013 (19:45 KO BST) – Donbass Arena, Donetsk (52,518)
Shakhtar manager Mircea Lucescu on United’s current woes: “David Moyes hasn’t found his best line-up yet, as he is changing four or five players from game to game. The link-up play between their players is not as good as it used to be so the team suffers.”
Shakhtar overcame Real Sociedad 2-0 away from home on Matchday 1, with Brazilian midfielder Alex Teixeira grabbing both goals.
Summer signing Wellington Nem has had surgery on a knee injury and been left out of their Champions League squad.
Warmed up for United’s visit with a 2-2 draw in the Donetsk derby on Saturday.
Shakhtar currently lie in third place in the Ukrainian Premier League with 23 points from 11 matches, 6 points behind leaders Metalist.
Luiz Adriano was Shakhtar’s only concern going into the game, but Lucescu insisted the Brazilian had trained with the team.
“If nothing bad happens today (Tuesday), he will play for sure,” the Romanian manager revealed.
Predicted line-up: Pyatov, Srna, Kucher, Rakitskiy, Shevchuk, Hübschman, Fernando, Douglas Costa, Alex Teixeira, Taison, Adriano
David Moyes looks ahead to the Shakhtar match after the poor defeat to West Brom: “In football you’re not going to win every game so support your team,” he said. “It’s a great club with great players and we’ll do everything we can to put today’s result right.”
Robin van Persie is fit again and available for selction.
“But we will make a decision tomorrow (Wednesday) whether we start him or not,” said Moyes.
Anderson, Fabio and Wilfried Zaha have not travelled to Ukraine and will therefore play no part.
Rio Ferdinand has also been left in Manchester where he will nurse a slight groin strain.
“It is nothing serious but I was never bringing him anyway,” Moyes added.
Rested at the weekend, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra are almost certain to return to the side.
Marouane Fellaini, who came off the bench on Saturday, is also likely to start.
Nani is available for selection after serving his suspension for his red card vs Real Madrid last season.
After a rocky start, betting companies such as SkyBet are offering odds of 12/1 for David Moyes to be the next manager sacked.
Ryan Giggs will hope to feature – he will set a European appearance record if he does.
Predicted line-up: De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Fellaini, Valencia, Giggs, Rooney, van Persie
European away record: P119 W48 D35 L36 F157 A125
Referee: Pavel Královec (CZE)
In last season’s Champions League the 36-year-old official took charge of 4 matches, brandishing 19 yellow cards and awarding a single penalty. While this will be the first time he oversees a United fixture, in recent seasons he has refereed matches involving Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, and England.
Assistants: Roman Slyško (SVK), Martin Wilczek (CZE)
Additional Assistants: Radek Prihoda (CZE), Michal Patak (CZE)
Fourth Official: Antonin Kordula (CZE)
Should he feature, Ryan Giggs will make a 145th appearance in the UEFA Champions League. Currently tied with Raul, the Welshman will set a new European record.
The match will be the first ever competitive encounter between the two sides.
Shakhtar have won all three previous UEFA Champions League fixtures against English visitors to Donetsk. Their overall home record against Premier League sides is W4 D1 L0.
Mircea Lucescu, who has been in charge of Shakhtar since May 2004, is the Ukrainian club’s longest-serving coach.
While United have never faced Shakhtar before, they have met Ukrainian opposition in the shape of Dynamo Kiev on 4 previous occasions. The Reds are unbeaten with 3 wins and 1 draw.
Sir Alex Ferguson rules out managerial return on BBC Sport.
Score prediction: Shakhtar 2-2 United