Match preview: Shakthar v FC Nordsjaelland

Shakthar Donetsk
Shakthar Donetsk failed to make it out of their group last season. Photo: PA

Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu is wary of his team making the same mistakes in the Champions League this season as they did last term.

The Ukrainian title-winners endured a nightmare campaign in the competition in 2011-12, managing only one win in their group and finishing bottom.

They made a bad start, losing their opener 2-1 at Porto before being held 1-1 at home by perceived minnows APOEL Nicosia, the Cypriot side they managed to later beat away 2-0 but who surprised everyone by finishing top of the group and making it through to the quarter-finals.

This time out, Shakhtar begin with a home clash against the team widely viewed as the weakest in Group E, Danish champions FC Nordsjaelland.

Ahead of the game tomorrow night, Lucescu has been reluctant to compare Nordsjaelland with APOEL, but has stressed the need for his players to learn from their experiences of a year ago.

"I think it is wrong to make comparisons, but APOEL equally were not taken into account by anyone, being considered the weak side, and they reached the quarter-finals," Lucescu said.

"At this level, the teams are no longer divided into strong and weak. There are clubs with a great history in the Champions League, while there are teams who are just seizing the moment.

"The main thing for us is to prevent the mistakes we made last year."

Shakhtar midfielder Willian feels the side need to "rehabilitate" themselves with their efforts in the Champions League this season.

"We all recognise our failure last year," Willian told shakhtar.com.

"This time we must try our best and approach the games with maximum focus in order to rehabilitate ourselves in front of the fans."

Nordsjaelland are making their Champions League debut and their midfielder Kasper Lorentzen admits it is an exciting time for him and his team-mates.

"It's what all footballers dream about," Lorentzen told www.fcn.dk.

"It's something we've been looking forward to and it is now time to see what the team can do."