Seydou Keita (R) of FC Barcelona duels for the ball with Kleber of FC Porto during the UEFA Super Cup match between FC Barcelona and FC Porto at Louis II Stadium in Monaco, Monaco. FC Porto take on Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, November 23, 2011. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Europa League holders, FC Porto, are looking to make amends following their Portuguese Cup exit, while the Ukrainian giants, Shakhtar Donetsk, are seeking their first victory in the competition.
The UEFA Champions League never fails to surprise. On paper Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Porto both looked like good bets to contend for the top spot in Group G. Instead, after four games, the two clubs find themselves at the bottom of the group looking up at group leaders APOEL.
Porto are the more fortunate of the two clubs, as they still seem to have a hope of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition. The Dragons have 4 points, thanks to a victory over this same Shakhtar side on Matchday 1 and a victory hear and an APOEL win over Zenit St. Petersburg Could set up a big match for Porto on the final matchday when they host the Russian Champions at the Estadio do Dragao.
Shakhtar, last season's quarterfinalists, come into this match without a victory in the UEFA Champions league. This match will be made even more difficult by the loss of captain Darijo Srna, who is serving a one match suspension, and vice-captain Dmytro Chyrgynskiy, who is recovering from a thigh strain. In addition, Fernandinho, Willian and Andriy Pyatov are all in doubt and will need to pass a late fitness test.
For Porto Alvaro Periera is back after recovering from tendonitis and James Rodriguez, who did not play in the club's loss in the Portugese Cup over the weekend, is set to return to the lineup, but defender Eliaquim Mangala has been left out.
The pressure will be on Porto to gain a victory in this match. The Portugese club are on a three match winless streak and suffered a loss in the Portugese Cup to Academia by the score of 3-0. Their biggest loss since March of 2010. Rumors persist that Porto manager Vitor Pereira will resign if Porto lose this match, which, given their current form, is a very real possibility.