Eintracht Frankfurt lost their perfect record this season at Shakhtar Donetsk, but a 2-2 draw still gives them the edge.
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After a flawless group stage with six wins out of six, Eintracht Frankfurt lost their 100% record when they drew the first leg of this tie 2-2 in Kharkiv against Shakhtar Donetsk, who have crossed over from the UEFA Champions League after finishing third in their group behind Manchester City and Lyon.
• It was plain sailing for Eintracht in UEFA Europa League Group H as they won home and away against Lazio, Apollon Limassol and 2017/18 runners-up Marseille, scoring 17 goals in the process.
• Shakhtar won just one of their six group games in the UEFA Champions League, 3-2 in Germany against Hoffenheim on matchday five. A victory in their final fixture at home to Lyon would have kept them in the competition at their opponents' expense, but they could only draw 1-1 in Kyiv.
• Shakhtar managed to end Eintracht's winning streak in the first leg, twice coming from behind to snatch a draw despite playing most of the game with ten men following Taras Stepanenko's 11th-minute dismissal. At that point the score was already 1-1, a Marlos penalty equalising a first Eintracht goal from January loan signing Martin Hinteregger. Luka Kostić put the visitors back in front shortly after the interval, only for Taison to level again midway through the second half.
• The clubs were paired together in the 1980/81 UEFA Cup first round when Eintracht, in their first game as holders, lost 1-0 in Donetsk before recovering to win the Frankfurt return 3-0.
• Another home win (2-0) enabled Eintracht to eliminate Dnipro from the second round of the 1993/94 UEFA Cup second round (2-1 on aggregate) but they lost their other home fixture against Ukrainian opposition 2-3 to Dynamo Kyiv in the second round of the 1974/75 European Cup Winners’ Cup.
• That 1980/81 tie was the first against Bundesliga opposition for Shakhtar, who at the time were representing the Soviet Union. The Pitmen's overall record against German clubs is W7 D8 L6, including a 2-1 win against Werder Bremen in the 2009 UEFA Cup final. They have won four of their nine encounters in Germany, including the last two, in each of which they have scored three goals. It was on German soil, however, that they suffered their heaviest European defeat, losing 7-0 at Bayern München in the second leg of the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League.
• A dramatic 2017/18 German Cup final victory over Bundesliga champions Bayern München – 3-1 in Berlin – gave Eintracht their first major silverware in 30 years and secured their first European campaign in five.
• The 1980 UEFA Cup winners opened their Group H campaign with a 2-1 victory in Marseille and secured qualification by beating Lazio (4-1 home) and Apollon (2-0 home, 3-2 away), maintaining their winning streak against Marseille (4-0 home) and Lazio (2-1 away) to finish nine points clear of the Italian club.
• Eintracht's only other European participation in the past dozen seasons came in 2013/14, when they successfully negotiated the UEFA Europa League play-offs and group stage, topping their section with 15 points, before going out on away goals to Porto in the round of 32 (2-2 away, 3-3 home).
• Eintracht's overall record in the UEFA Europa League, home and away and including qualifying, is W13 D3 L1, the sole defeat coming at Maccabi Tel-Aviv (2-4) in November 2013. They have scored two or more goals in all but one of their last 18 European fixtures and have not drawn a blank since a 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup group stage. Their home record in the competition is W7 D1, with only Porto denying them victory.
• There have been six previous instances of Frankfurt drawing the first leg away from home in a UEFA tie. They have qualified on four of those occasions, including in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup first round when they followed a 2-2 draw at Widzew Łódź with a 9-0 home win – still their biggest in Europe. The only other time they drew the first leg 2-2 away, however, it heralded that 2013/14 away-goals defeat by Porto in the club's only other UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie.
• Shakhtar qualified for this season's UEFA Champions League as winners of the Ukrainian championship, claiming the title for the 11th time in 2017/18, when they also won the Ukrainian Cup to complete a second successive domestic double.
• The Ukrainian club's first two group stage encounters both finished 2-2, at home to Hoffenheim and away to Lyon, but they were then beaten heavily home (0-3) and away (0-6) by Manchester City. A last-gasp success at Hoffenheim kept hopes alive only for the draw with Lyon to end their campaign.
• This is the fifth time that Shakhtar have been involved in the UEFA Europa League round of 32, but they have won only one tie – against German opposition in 2015/16, Shakhtar following up a goalless draw against Schalke in Lviv with a 3-0 win in Gelsenkirchen in which Marlos and Viktor Kovalenko both scored. Shakhtar have lost at this stage against Fulham (2009/10), Viktoria Plzeň (2013/14) and Celta Vigo (2016/17) but have won their last two away fixtures in the round of 32 – at Schalke and Celta (1-0).
• Shakhtar have won all of their last five away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League, play-offs included, and eight of their last nine, the only exception a 1-3 defeat at eventual winners Sevilla in the second leg of the 2015/16 semi-final. Their away record in all phases of the competition is W11 D1 L3.
• This is the tenth time that Shakhtar have drawn the first leg of a UEFA competition tie at home. They have won just three of the previous nine ties and none of the three with a 2-2 scoreline, including the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League semi-final against Sevilla (1-3 away). Two of their three successes have come against Schalke, but two other German clubs, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern München, have both eliminated them from the UEFA Champions League round of 16 after first-leg draws in Ukraine.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Sebastian Rode, Martin Hinteregger, Timothy Chandler
Out: Deji-Ousman Beyreuther, Noel Knothe, Francisco Geraldes, Nicolai Müller
In: Manor Solomon, Valeriy Bondarenko, Maksym Malyshev, Mykhailo Mudryk
Out: Oleg Danchenko, Yaroslav Rakits'kyy, Marquinhos Cipriano
Links and trivia
• Eintracht boss Adi Hütter was the coach of Swiss club Young Boys when they eliminated Shakhtar on penalties in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, Paulo Fonseca's first European engagement as Shakhtar coach.
• Eintracht goalkeeper Kevin Trapp kept two clean sheets against Shakhtar for Paris Saint-Germain in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage (3-0 away, 2-0 home). Earlier that year Sebastian Rode was in the Bayern München side that defeated the Pitmen 7-0 in the round of 16 second leg.
• Shakhtar's Maycon and Eintracht's Allan played together in Brazil's Under-20 team.
• Eintracht are the first German club to win all six of their matches in a UEFA Europa League group stage – a feat Shakhtar also achieved on their last participation in 2016/17.
• With five goals in the group stage, Eintracht striker Luka Jović is joint-second in the competition's top scorer standings behind Salzburg’s Munas Dabbur. Mijat Gaćinović is also joint-second in the assists chart with four, behind only BATE Borisov's Igor Stasevich (seven).
• Frankfurt are one of seven teams to have come through the UEFA Europa League group stage undefeated, and are now one of only four to have retained that status after the round of 32 first legs alongside Betis, Villarreal and Chelsea.
• There are ten former winners of the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League in this season's round of 32. This is the only tie between two of those clubs.
• Eintracht's record in one UEFA penalty shoot-out is W0 L1:
4-5 v Salzburg, 1993/94 UEFA Cup quarter-final
• Shakhtar's record in two UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W0 L2:
1-4 v Club Brugge, 2002/03 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
2-4 v Young Boys, 2016/17 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
• Austrian coach Adi Hütter was appointed by Eintracht Frankfurt as the successor to Bayern München-bound Niko Kovač in May 2018, having just led Young Boys to their first Swiss league title in 32 years. A midfielder who spent seven years with Salzburg, he returned to lead the club to a domestic double in 2014/15 after managerial spells at Altach and Grödig. He then crossed the border to spend the next three seasons in Berne.
• Paulo Fonseca took over at Shakhtar in summer 2016, replacing the legendary Mircea Lucescu, who had spent 12 years in the post. A central defender of modest repute, he paid his dues as a coach in his native Portugal, first making his mark at Paços de Ferreira and joining Porto in 2013. He won the Portuguese Cup with Braga before leaving for Shakhtar, with whom he won the Ukrainian league and cup double in each of his first two seasons.