Tue 23 Oct 2012 19:45 (Attendance: 50,000)
The Blues are in-form, but no one doubts this is a real European test 1,700 miles from home. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton add a new country to the Chelsea story…
Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea also currently top Group E on goal difference. By the end of this stage the final standings of teams will be decided first by head-to-head results, though. This visit to the second-placed Ukrainians offers the chance to steal a march on our rivals.
Shakhtar had played four Champions League matches without victory at the Donbass Arena prior to their 2-0 Matchday One success against Nordsjaelland. The Blues have since beaten the same side 4-0 in Denmark, and have a fine away record this season of four wins in five, with 12 goals for, three against.
The emphatic victory at White Hart Lane marked the most Chelsea goals there since the 4-4 draw in March 2008, and the sixth occasion we have registered four (or more) in the league.
Chelsea have now won as many times in our meetings at White Hart Lane as the hosts: 26. In contrast the victories ratio at Stamford Bridge is stacked 35:21 in west London's favour.
This is also the first time since the first half of the title-winning 2005/06 season the club has registered away league wins at both Arsenal and Tottenham.
For a further example you have to go way back to 1964. Under Tommy Docherty - whose pacy, dynamic side bears some comparison to the present incumbents - Chelsea won 2-1 at White Hart Lane in February, and 4-2 at Arsenal a month later (by coincidence the reverse of this season's scorelines). The remarkable Bobby Tambling hit all six goals.
Chelsea's opener against Spurs came from a poorly-cleared corner and might soon be regarded as an endangered species if trends persist in the Champions League.
UEFA's technical report on the season just gone notes that goals derived from set plays have decreased from 35% to 22% over the last 10 years.
Just six players hit the net directly from a free kick in the 2011/12 Champions League. Corners are far less of a threat at the highest level too, these days: of the 1,250 taken last season, just 27 led to a goal.
So much for statistics. The only one that matters to Blues fans was the late corner in Munich delivered by Juan Mata, and the Didier Drogba header that broke Bayern's hearts.
Thankfully, there are some things that still transcend metrics.
Other Group E fixture
Tue 7.45pm - FC Nordsjaelland v Juventus
|Champions League Group E table|
This season's Champions League features 17 domestic league champions from last season, eight runners-up and five third-placed finishers. Malaga is the only club in the group stage to have finished in fourth place in their domestic league. Only Chelsea from Group E failed to top their league last season.
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton resume their extensive preparations for tonight's game...
John Terry's ban does not extend beyond domestic games so he is available to play tonight. Following a home draw with Juventus on Matchday One, the reigning champions will hope to garner at least a point to add to the four accrued so far. Given the possible tightness of Group E, head-to-head results with Shakhtar may prove significant.
Roberto Di Matteo's side will be very confident after Saturday's derby win over Spurs, especially as it required considerable character to recover from a 1-2 deficit to win by two clear goals. It was the third match in a row in which the Blues have hit four goals. Chelsea arrive having scored 20 goals in five games in all competitions.
The Ukrainians are in great form too, unbeaten in 28 matches and having drawn only two of those. They will be slightly the fresher team as their league win over Ilyichivets Mariupol took place on Friday evening.
Mircea Lucescu's side play a possession game and boast the attacking prowess of Willian Da Silva, occasional target man Luiz Adriano and deep-lying forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who is a big threat inside the area.
The Armenian Mkhitaryan is in prolific form in the Ukrainian Premier League - 14 strikes in 12 matches - and hit both goals against early Group E strugglers Norsdjaelland to register his club's first home Champions League win since March 2011. Last season at the Donbass the Miners drew with APOEL Nicosia (1-1) and Zenit St Petersburg (2-2) and lost to Porto (0-2).
Both sides generally set themselves out in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with one central midfielder playing deeper than the other. In Shakhtar's case, Fernandinho is more of the playmaker while experienced Czech Tomáš Hübschman protects the back four.
Hübschman figured for Sparta Prague in both matches against Chelsea in 2003 (pictured below), a win and a draw for the Londoners. He tends to patrol his central patch quite rigidly and doesn't like to cover wide areas.
His equivalent on the Blues' side, Mikel, is a more liberated player this season. His strength and shielding ability remain, but once criticised for favouring the simple, safe pass, he is now responsible for positive, penetrative distribution to the fluid attacking midfielders. He has also honed the ability to regulate the tempo of the game.
(The Edward Newton coaching influence is also obvious in the Nigerian's perfection of what fans dubbed the 'Eddie turn'.)
Shakhtar's biggest offensive threat is also their Achilles heel. Darijo Srna is a storming right back, but is inclined to concede set-plays too readily at the back, and along with left-back Răzvan Raţ can also leave gaps in defence that Chelsea will readily exploit.
In the 1-1 draw at Juventus, the better side, Shakhtar, were repeatedly exposed down the flanks, whereas their own chances came from diagonal passes towards the edge of the Old Lady's box for Mkhitaryan, Alex Teixeira or the more distinctively coiffured fellow Brazilian, Willian Da Silva.
Willian plays as an inverted left-winger and loves to cut inside onto his right foot but is more inclined to pass than shoot, making him less predictable than some of his ilk. Former Arsenal forward Eduardo is not a regular starter.
Chelsea's two top scorers so far in this competition are the attacking midfielders Oscar and Juan Mata with two (only Real's Ronaldo, with four, has more). Daniel Sturridge has only seen 90 minutes of action so far this season, but the striker hit the net on his return from injury on Saturday.
No player has been ruled offside in this competition as many times as Fernando Torres. The Spaniard's all-round contribution this season has been excellent but he will be eager to open his Champions League account this evening.
Marko Marin remains out for a second game with a minor groin complaint so Roberto Di Matteo picks from the same squad as at Spurs. Shakhtar boss Mircea Lucescu reports all his players fit and healty.
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea and Shakhtar have entirely different origins. Our Ukrainian opponents were founded in 1936 by the Soviet state from a coalmine workers' collective - hence their nicknames, the Miners and the Moles. They recently reverted to crossed hammers on their badge in recognition of their mining roots.
Gus Mears and his wealthy co-founders in 1905 were in contrast capitalist entrepreneurs and businessman intent on having fun and maybe recouping a little of the money they threw at the club along the way.
The side we play tonight were originally called Stakhanovets Stalino and, like Chelsea, success eluded them for much of their early history. Donetsk was occupied by the Nazis between 1941 and 1943, and the football team had virtually to be rebuilt from scratch on liberation.
When rivals Dynamo Moscow visited Stamford Bridge for the legendary post-war friendly against Chelsea in November 1945, the reduced Stakhanovets were having to ply their trade a division below.
A year later they became Shakhtar Stalino and by 1951 had achieved their highest finish, third in the Soviet Top League. The rebranded outfit's most successful spell before the modern era came in the mid-1970s, when they finished runners-up twice, third again, represented the USSR in Europe and scooped several domestic cups.
While remaining in Dynamo Kiev's shadow, Shakhtar were one of the strongest clubs in the nascent Ukrainian Premier League following the break-up of the USSR, and won the title for the first time in 2001/02. They have repeated the feat six times since and are now Ukraine's foremost football club.
When Blues fans think of Ukraine, though, they picture former Kiev icon Andriy Shevchenko, the striker who netted 22 times in 77 games for the Blues. (More specifically, they probably picture him brilliantly opening the scoring at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup replay of 2007.)
The Miners are a lesser-known quantity to the Blues. As a club Chelsea have little to compare the hosts with since we have never faced a Ukrainian side before, even in a friendly.
Yet plenty of our players experienced the country during the summer's Euro 2012 tournament. Spain and England both played twice at this evening's venue, the Donbass Arena (which, incidentally, takes its name from the region - the Donets Basin) - and neither lost a game.
Shakhtar's coach, Mircea Lucescu, is also familiar face. As boss of Turkish side Beşiktaş, he faced Chelsea twice in the 2003/04 group stage. Unheralded Sergen Yalcin grabbed two goals in six minutes to earn an historic victory over Claudio Ranieri's team at the Bridge in October.
The Blues responded on Matchday Six by reversing the 2-0 scoreline in a game held in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, due to security concerns in Istanbul, with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink notching the first in the 77th minute and setting up Wayne Bridge for the second eight minutes later. (The referee that night was one Anders Frisk.)
The win was important as it confirmed Chelsea as Group G winners, to face Stuttgart in the Round of 16. Beşiktaş dropped to third.
Ranieri steered the Blues past Arsenal in the quarter-finals before falling short one step from the final against Monaco.
Chelsea's biggest away win in the Champions League
20/10/1999 - Galatasaray 0-5 Chelsea - First group stage
Shakhtar's biggest home win in the Champions League
26/11/2008 - Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 FC Basel 1893 - Group stage
Chelsea failed to score away in the Champions League: 685
Shakhtar lost at home in any competition: 335
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,712
Liverpool won the league: 8,207
Visit again at lunchtime for more briefing.
The Blues have topped our group in seven of our last nine Champions League campaigns. We have never failed to progress to the knockout stage.
Chelsea have won eight and lost five of our last 20 away games in the Champions League. Last term we failed to win any of our away group matches having taken the lead in all three. We achieved draws at Valencia and Genk and fell to a last-minute winner at Bayer Leverkusen.
We have scored in our last 16 Champions League matches since we lost 0-1 to Man Utd in 2010/11 quarter-final at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea's last ten years in Europe
2002/03 - UEFA Cup - first round
2003/04 - Champions League - semi-final
2004/05 - Champions League - semi-final
2005/06 - Champions League - round of 16
2006/07 - Champions League - semi-final
2007/08 - Champions League - runners-up
2008/09 - Champions League - semi-final
2009/10 - Champions League - round of 16
2010/11 - Champions League - quarter-final
2011/12 - Champions League - winners
|Last six results|
|Sep 22||Stoke (h)||W 1-0|
|Sep 25||Wolves (League Cup h)||W 6-0|
|Sep 29||Arsenal (a)||W 2-1|
|Oct 2||FC Nordsjaelland (Champions League a)||W 4-0|
|Oct 6||Norwich (h)||W 4-1|
|Oct 20||Tottenham (a)||W 4-2|
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sun 28 Oct||Manchester United home||4pm|
|Wed 31 Oct||Manchester United (LC) home||7.45pm|
|Sat 3 Nov||Swansea City away||3pm|
John Terry needs one goal to reach 50 in all competitions for the Blues.
The Blues are looking for our 100th win in European competition in our 189th match.
If selected, Frank Lampard will make his 100th appearance in Europe for the Blues.
SHAKHTAR DONETSK STATS
7 Ukraine league titles, last in 2012
4 Soviet Cups, last in 1983
8 Ukrainian Cups, last in 2012
1 Soviet Super Cup in 1984
4 Ukraine Super Cups, last in 2012
1 UEFA Cup in 2009
Shakhtar and Dynamo Kiev are the only two Ukrainian clubs to have won a European trophy.
Shakhtar's Champions League squad is made up of 14 Ukrainians, eight Brazilians, two Croats and one from Romania, Armenia and Czech Republic.
Romanian Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar's head coach, has won 15 major trophies since taking over in 2004.
This is the fourth time in five seasons Shakhtar have faced an English side. The most recent being when they beat Arsenal 2-1 at home in the 2010/11 group stage.
They have won three of their four games against English sides, all from London.
The win over FC Nordsjaelland on Matchday One ended a run of four home European games without a win. In Donetsk last season they drew with APOEL 1-1 and Zenit St Petersburg 2-2 before a 0-2 defeat by Porto ensured they finished bottom of the group.
The Donbass Arena has a capacity of just over 52,000. Their average in last season's championship season was 36,983.
Friday's victory against Illychivets Mariupil was Shakhtar's 21st successive top-flight victory which is a Ukrainian Premier League record.
They have achieved 13 successive home wins in all competitions since a Premier League draw against Dnipro in March. Their last home defeat was against Porto (0-2) last November in the Champions League group stage.
Their record in the Champions League is played 78, won 35, drawn 13, lost 30.
|Shakhtar's home games against English teams in Europe|
|2000/01||Arsenal||W 3-0||Champions League group stage|
|2008/09||Tottenham||W 2-0||UEFA Cup round of 32, second leg|
|2009/10||Fulham||D 1-1||Europa League round of 32, first leg|
|2010/11||Arsenal||W 2-1||Champions League group stage|
Last ten league seasons
Ten-year European record
2002/03 - UEFA Cup first round - having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2003/04 - UEFA Cup first round - having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2004/05 - UEFA Cup round of 16 - having transferred from the Champions League group stage
2005/06 - UEFA Cup round of 32 - having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2006/07 - UEFA Cup round of 16 - having transferred from the Champions League group stage
2007/08 - Champions League group stage
2008/09 - UEFA Cup winners - having transferred from the Champions League group stage
2009/10 - Europa League round of 32 - having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2010/11 - Champions League quarter-finals
2011/12 - Champions League group stage
|Last six results|
|Sep 19||FC Nordsjaelland (Champions League h)||W 2-0|
|Sep 23||Dynamo Kiev (Cup h)||W 4-1|
|Sep 28||Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (h)||W 2-1|
|Oct 2||Juventus (Champions League a)||D 1-1|
|Oct 7||Metalist Kharkiv (a)||W 2-0|
|Oct 19||Illychivets Mariupil (h)||W 2-1|
Ukraine Premier League scorers
Mkhitaryan 14, Texeira 5, Ilsinho 4, Dević 3 (1 pen), Luiz Adriano 3, Kucher 2, Seleznyov 2, Dentinho 1, Fernandinho 1, Srna 1, Stepanenko 1, Willian 1. Total 38.
Ukraine Premier League top half
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Damir Skomina, his two assistant referees and two additional assistant referees are all from Slovenia. Skomina officiated Chelsea's tense 2-1 semi-final victory over Benfica last season, awarding a penalty converted by Frank Lampard, and booking three Blues players and four from the Portuguese club, one of whom received a second caution. He was also the man in charge of Chelsea's 1-4 humbling in this season's UEFA Super Cup, during which he took Branislav Ivanovic's name again.
There are no suspensions.
Champions League bookings list
Players receive a one-match suspension for collecting three and five yellow cards
Shakhtar Donetsk (4): Hübschman, Ilsinho, Luiz Adriano, Srna.
Chelsea (1): Ramires
An impressive Shakhtar Donetsk side inflicted our first Champions League defeat under Roberto Di Matteo, scoring early in each half.
Oscar pulled a goal back close to the end but there could little complaint about the result on a night when Petr Cech was by far the busier goalkeeper. Better Chelsea chances came in the second-half before the Oscar goal, Juan Mata and John Mikel Obi both clearing the crossbar, but the home team continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack and it will need a good performance to take points from them at Stamford Bridge in a fortnight's time.
The outlook would have looked dimmer had it not been for Juventus's 1-1 draw in Denmark tonight meaning the Italians have yet to win in the group and Chelsea only drop to second.
Roberto Di Matteo freshened up the side with two personnel changes. In came the captain and vice-captain, Gary Cahill making way for John Terry and Frank Lampard back alongside John Mikel Obi with Ramires moving to the wide right position and Eden Hazard on the bench.
Shakhtar selected four Brazilians in an unchanged line-up from their previous Champions League outing. Willian and Alex Texeira flanked highly rated Armenian Henrik Mkhitaryan as the three players behind lone striker Luiz Adriano.
Results across the group in the first couple of round of matches meant Chelsea knew we needed something from this game if qualification for the knockout stages wasn't to become tricky. The last thing we needed was to give the Ukrainians an early boost but Shakhtar scored with their very first attack.
There was a throw-in from the left and an initial shot by Luiz Adriano that Terry was able to block, but the ball ran unkindly - latched upon inside the area by Teixeira who had a relatively simple task in rolling it into the net. There were less than three minutes gone.
Oscar combined with Torres and shot but it was too tame as the visitors tried to muster a quick response. Ramires did very well to dispossess Rat and Torres initially slipped the ball outside of one defender but there was a covering Shakhtar player who snuffed out the danger.
It was Chelsea enjoying more possession for a spell but then on 15 minutes Shakhtar sprung forward at speed, as they would do on several occasions later on. A ball was initially threaded through the middle to Mkhitaryan before Willian accelerated to the edge of the area and fired over. Space for the attack had been helped by an injury to Lampard whose 100th European game for Chelsea was a short one. He was on the turf and soon walked off to be replaced on 17 minutes by Hazard.
Oscar remained as the more central of the attacking midfielders and he was almost played through by Ramires but the keeper was quick enough out to deal with it. He then took a cross from Ivanovic in front of Torres and was pulled by Cole as he tried to release the ball quickly, at the expense of a booking for the Chelsea left-back.
The home side were finding a worrying amount of space when they attacked and Willian, who was seeing plenty of the ball shot again, this time Cech saving well within his capabilities.
On 24 minutes Hazard hit a first time pass to Oscar who momentarily looked to have played the ideal pass up to Torres, but again keeper Pyatov was quick enough to knock the ball out of the Spaniard's path. Shakhtar countered in a flash and it needed Terry with an admirable recovery and clearance to kill the attack. Mkhitaryan then shot with power but straight at Cech.
It was Chelsea's turn to attack and Mikel and Oscar exchanged passes and the Brazilian sprinted inside the Shakhtar area but couldn't find a blue shirt with his cross. Then just past the half hour he showed vision with a pass over the top to Torres who appeared to take a touch too strong as he ran onto it.
On 37 minutes, Cech was in action again, tipping over from Mkhitaryan after Cole had initially done well to impede the attack. The corner that followed proved difficult to clear. After another corner a minute later our keeper was at his best to keep the ball out when his compatriot and friend Tomas Hubschman turned in goalwards from only a couple of yards out.
Chelsea possession in or around the Shakhtar box was becoming increasingly rare, Torres hooked a difficult cross at the keeper an exception. It had been hard to see where a Chelsea goal would come from in that opening 45 minutes.
Four minutes after the restart, Chelsea did look incisive in the attack, Hazard pushing forward and opting not use Cole's lung-bursting run inside him, instead picking out Mata in the middle who unfortunately shot over.
We were looking beginning to look better than the first half which made the mistakes that led to Shakhtar's second goal all the more infuriating. Mikel only just held onto possession in a tight spot inside the Chelsea half and when Ramires knocked the ball deeper to Hazard, he was dispossessed. The Blues defence was outnumbered and Luiz Adriano found Fernandinho in space to score with a shot across Cech. There were 51 minutes played.
Ramires tried to get a recovery going with a 25-yard attempt that tested Pyatov as much as any so far, and one of Mata's brighter moments led to a cross that Torres just failed to reach when closely marked by two defenders.
Mata then spotted Torres making a run down the inside right corridor but the out-of-sorts centre-forward crossed into the keeper's hands.
Torres was successful in flicking on Mata's 67th minute corner but Mikel, who spun on to it couldn't keep a very difficult volley down.
It had been a while since Shakhtar had pressured the Chelsea goal and when they did once more, the well-placed Fernandinho shot wide.
Sturridge replaced Torres with 69 minutes played but the next two shots were from Mkhitaryan, both saved by Cech. Then Luiz Adriano's header across goal bounced odd Hubschman and only just wide of the post.
All Chelsea's attacks were through Hazard but on three occasions he didn't have answer to how to beat Pyatov. David Luiz was booked for a foul on Willian, Olexandr Kucher having earlier been cautioned for the home side. Hubschman followed suit for a muscular challenge on Ramires.
Hope came with three minutes of normal time left on the clock, Ivanovic the creator with a powerful drive into the box and pull-back that Oscar turned in from close-range, but we couldn't trouble the home side again.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry (c) Cole; Mikel, Lampard (Hazard 17); Ramires, Oscar, Mata; Torres (Sturridge 70).
Unused subs Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Bertrand, Romeu.
Scorer Oscar 88.
Booked Cole 21, David Luiz 79.
Shakhtar (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Srna (c), Kucher, Rakitskiy, Rat; Fernandinho, Hübschman; Teixeira (Ilsinho 82), Mkhitaryan, Willian (Costa 87); Luiz Adriano.
Unused subs Kanibolotskiy, Kryvtsov, Stepanenko, Gai, Eduardo.
Scorers Teixeira 3, Fernandinho 51.
Booked Kucher 66, Hubschman 85.
Referee Damir Skomina from Slovenia.