FC Shakhtar Donetsk

FC Shakhtar

Football Club Shakhtar is a professional football club from the Ukrainian city of Donetsk. The team regularly plays in European competitions, and for the past decade, it is often a participant of the UEFA Champions League. FC Shakhtar was also the participant of Matchworld Cup in the UAE. Shakhtar Donetsk is certainly the most popular football club in Ukraine. Due to the war in Donbas, Shakhtar had to temporarily move and play its games in Arena Lviv. However, from the second half of the season 2016- 2017 they play in Kharkiv which is 150 miles to the north of Donetsk. For obvious reasons, the club became the first club in independent Ukraine to win the UEFA Cup in 2009, a year before the competition was renamed to the Europa League. In the finals, they defeated Werder Bremen with two goals by Brazilians Luiz Adriano and Jádson. Furthermore, FC Shakhtar Donetsk is one of two Ukrainian clubs which have won one of major UEFA competitions. The other club is Dynamo Kyiv which is Shakhtar greatest rival in the country.

Short History

The club was founded at the beginning of the Soviet football league competitions in 1936 under the nameStakhanovets. Today, it is one of the oldest clubs in Ukraine. The club was a part of the Soviet Voluntary Sports Society of Shakhtyor, which allowed them the chance to play and develop connections with other Soviet teams such as Karaganda (Kazakhstan) and Soligorsk (Belarus). In the late Soviet period, Shakhtar was a strong mid-table club in the Soviet Top League. However, it was considered to be a cup competition specialist since it won the Soviet Cup two years in a row in 1961 and 1962. At that time the name of the club was Shakhtyor. The name remained until 1992 when it was finally renamed to FC Shakhtar.

Just before the start of the 2009–10 season, Shakhtar became a winner in a friendly Uhrencup tournament which was a great introduction to their excellent season. At the end of that season, they won the Premier League title, while their goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov was named Ukraine Premier League MVP and their manager Mircea Lucescu was named Romania Coach of the Year for the second time.
The following season was also profitable for Shakhtar since they have made fantastic success in Champions League, reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Their captain, Croatian Darijo Srna was selected to be a part of the Champions League Dream Team of that season. At the same time, they won the Premier League, as well as Ukrainian Cup and the Super Cup. All these victories were encouraged with IFFHS special award for the biggest progress of the decade among football clubs.

FC Shakhtar also won the Premier League and Ukrainian Cup in the 2011–12 season. Their player Yevhen Seleznyov finished the season with most scored goals in the league, while their midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan received award Armenian Footballer of the Year. Manager Lucescu once again became Romania Coach of the Year.

In the season 2012–13 Shakhtar once again won the Premier League, Cup, and Super Cup. This was the season when the team also competed in Matchworld Cup in the United Arab Emirates. They defeated Zenit Saint Petersburg in Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Henrikh Mkhitaryan finished the season as the top scorer of the league and was named the Ukraine Premier League MVP by Komanda, as well as Armenian Footballer of the Year and the CIS Footballer of the Year for 2012.

Season 2015-2016 was notable for FC Shakhtar Donetsk since they managed to the semi-finals of the Europa League, and also because they beat Dynamo Kyiv with 0–3 in Kiev, that way setting two new records. They became the first team to score three goals in a Ukrainian derby game in Kiev, and they finally managed to pass Dynamo in the number of victories in Ukrainian derby. However, great results attracted the attention of other clubs and investors which resulted in Alex Teixeira´s move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning as well as the departure of long-time manager Mircea Lucescu who became the coach of Zenit Saint Petersburg. The new coach became the Portuguese Paulo Fonseca.