Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb facts
Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb both have three points to their name in Group C, so their meetings over the next two matchdays could go a long way towards determining who reaches the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
• Both sides have beaten Atalanta and lost to section leaders Manchester City, and meet at the OSK Metalist Stadion in Kharkiv with Shakhtar looking to make it three wins from three against their Croatian rivals.
• The sides’ only past fixtures came in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, Shakhtar winning both matches. The Ukrainian side triumphed 2-0 in the Donetsk first leg, before a 3-1 success in Zagreb.
• Darijo Srna, now Shakhtar’s assistant coach, scored the club’s opening goal of that tie, with goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov playing all 180 minutes.
• Beaten 3-0 by Manchester City in Kharkiv on Matchday 1, Shakhtar came from behind to win 2-1 at Atalanta last time out, substitute Manor Solomon scoring the winning goal five minutes into added time.
• That victory against Atalanta at San Siro in Milan was Shakhtar’s second win in nine UEFA Champions League matches (D3 L4).
• Despite losing to City, the Donetsk club have been defeated in only three of their last 19 home matches in Europe (W11 D5), although they have not won any of the last five. They have not kept a clean sheet in any of the last ten.
• Quarter-finalists in 2010/11, Shakhtar won only one of their six matches in last season’s group stage, collecting six points to finish behind Manchester City and Lyon in Group F. They picked up only two points at home, drawing with Hoffenheim and Lyon and losing to City, before going down 6-3 on aggregate to Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 (2-2 h, 1-4 a).
• Shakhtar have got out of their UEFA Champions League group in three of their last six participations.
• The Pitmen’s 2008 games against Dinamo are their only previous contests against a Croatian club.
• Shakhtar qualified as winners of the Ukrainian league, claiming the title for the 12th time in 2018/19, when they completed a domestic double for the third season in succession.
• A Mislav Oršić hat-trick helped Dinamo to a 4-0 defeat of Atalanta in Zagreb in their first Group C game, making the 26-year-old the first player to hit three goals for a Croatian club in a UEFA Champions League group encounter.
• That was just Dinamo’s fifth win in the UEFA Champions League group stage in their 37th match (D5 L27); they suffered six defeats in their most recent participation, in 2016/17. They had lost 11 successive matches, and won only one of 27 (D2 L24) – a 2-1 defeat of Arsenal in Zagreb in September 2015 that ended a 16-year wait for a victory in the competition proper – before beating Atalanta.
• The 2-0 loss at Manchester City on Matchday 2 was Dinamo’s 13th successive away defeat in the UEFA Champions League group stage, since a 2-2 draw at Marseille on 2 November 1999.
• Dinamo have nevertheless won five of their last 11 European away matches (D3 L3).
• Dinamo claimed their 13th Croatian league title in 14 seasons in 2018/19 – and 20th in all – but their UEFA Champions League campaign came to an early end with a play-off defeat against Young Boys. Moving into the UEFA Europa League, the Zagreb club finished first in their section before getting the better of Viktoria Plzeň in the round of 32, then bowing out after extra time against Benfica in the last 16 (1-0 h, 0-3 a).
• Nenad Bjelica’s side started this season’s UEFA Champions League in the second qualifying round, easing past Georgia’s Saburtalo 5-0 on aggregate (2-0 a, 3-0 h) before a 5-1 victory over two games against Ferencváros of Hungary (1-1 h, 4-0 a). They then overcame Rosenborg in the play-offs, winning 2-0 at home before a 1-1 draw in Norway.
• The Zagreb club have never beaten Ukrainian opposition in UEFA competition, home and away (D2 L8); they have been defeated in four of the five away games, the exception a 1-1 draw against Dnipro in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup second round second leg (1-3 aggregate).
• This is Dinamo’s seventh UEFA Champions League group campaign overall, and fifth in nine seasons. They have failed to qualify from the group stage in all six previous attempts. In fact, 2018/19 marked the first time in 14 UEFA club competition group stage campaigns – including eight in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League – that the Croatian club had made it through to the next phase.
Links and trivia
• Shakhtar assistant coach Srna won a record 134 caps for Croatia, scoring 22 goals. As a player with Hajduk Split, he won the Croatian league title in 2001 and the domestic cup in 2000 and 2003.
• Current Shakhtar coach Luís Castro worked with Dinamo’s Ivo Pinto in Porto’s youth teams between 2008 and 2011.