Champions League Preview: Will former Man Utd stars guide Fenerbahce into next round?

Fenerbahçe need a score draw or a win against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Arena Lviv stadium to progress to the final Champions League play-off round.

The Yellow Canaries hit the headlines this summer by prizing away Manchester United star Robin van Persie as well as Luis Nani. Fenerbahçe also did a smart bit of business in snapping up Lille defender Simon Kjaer, Brazil international Josef de Souza as well as last seasons top scorer in the Super Lig Fernandao and Turkish international Şener Özbayraklı.

Apart from Van Persie and Özbayraklı all the summer singings started.

Vitor Pereira brought in eight players while getting rid of nine veterans. This is essentially a new look Fenerbahçe team and will take some time to settle. The Portuguese head coach has still not figured out his strongest starting lineup or his formation.

Pereira switched between a 4-4-2 and a 4-2-3-1 in the goalless draw against Shakhtar in the first leg. Diego Ribas started on the left flank but was given some what of a free role and allowed to drift in. The Brazilian actually had one of his most influential games since joining the club last season. Simon Kjaer in defence made an impressive debut as did holding midfielder Josef de Souza.

The backbone of the Fenerbahçe midfield Mehmet Topal could miss the game entirely due to injury – a gametime decision will be made – in which case De Souza will be accompanied by seasonsed veteran Raul Meireles.

Nani will almost certainly start on the right flank while Pereira faces a tricky task of whether to start both Fernandao and Moussa Sow or to risk Van Persie from the get go. The Dutch star is not 100 percent match fit and remains another game-time decision.

While there are a lot of question marks as far as Fenerbahçe are concerned Shakhtar are far more aware of their identity. Mircea Lucescu is not likely to make any likely changes other than perhaps Fred who was rocked by the latest doping scandal.

Shakhtar are by far the more settled side but while this is a home game on paper the Ukrainian side are not playing at the Donbass Arena. Instead the match will be played on the other side of the country in Lviv. With such a precarious aggregate score one away goal would put Shakhtar in a lot of trouble it could even knock them out of the competition. Fenerbahçe have enough individual quality to get on the scoresheet but will have to do a lot better defensively than they did in the first half of the first leg as Shakhtar may not be as forgiving this time around.

Should Fenerbahçe progress to the next stage former United stars Nani and Van Persie could end up facing their former side in the final play-off round.

SHAKHTAR-FENEBAHÇE
Stadium: Arena Lviv
Referee: Felix Zwayer

Kick-Off: 19:45 GMT

SHAKHTAR DONETSK: Pyatov, Srna, Ordets, Kucher, Azavedo, Stepanenko, Malyshev, Taison, Alex Teixeira, Marlos, Gladkiy
Manager: Mircea Lucescu

FENERBAHÇE: Volkan, Şener, Alves, Kjaer, Caner, Meireles, Josef, Nani, Diego, Sow, Fernandao
Manager: Vitor Pereira

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