ManUtd.com assesses the Reds’ Group A opponents in this season’s Champions League…
When do we meet? Away: 2 October; Home: 10 December
Where do they play? Donbas Arena; capacity 52,187
Who’s the boss? Mircea Lucescu in one of the most successful Romanian coaches of all time, having managed a number of high-profile clubs including Inter Milan (he was manager when United beat Inter en route to 1999’s Treble triumph), Galatasaray and Besiktas. He took charge of Shakhtar in 2004 and has since led them to seven league titles, five Ukrainian Cups, five Ukrainian Super Cups and, last but not least, the 2009 UEFA Cup.
How did they qualify? As domestic champions, the Pitmen were placed in seeding Pot 2 for this season’s group stage draw. Their best finish in the competition was reaching the 2011 quarter-finals.
Who’s their key man? Brazilian star Douglas Costa – once touted as a United transfer target – is a cultured midfielder who has pulled the strings for Shakhtar since signing in January 2010. The former Gremio star has won the domestic league and cup double since then to catch the eye of potential suitors from overseas. Notably, he made five appearances and scored once during last season’s Champions League competition, helping his side reach the last 16.
Have we met before? United have never faced the Ukrainian giants in any competition.