Nordsjaelland face another tough European test against Shakhtar Donetsk
Nordsjaelland would be doing Chelsea a favour on Tuesday if they can spring a surprise against Shahktar Donetsk.
Last Updated: 19/11/12 10:12pm
Nordsjaelland would be doing Chelsea a favour on Tuesday if they can spring a surprise against Shahktar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League.
The reigning Danish champions lie bottom of Group E and just one point from their four games has extinguished any hope the European minnows had of qualifying for the knockout stages.
They could, however, throw a spanner into the works of Shakhtar's bid to reach the last 16, while offering a helping hand to Chelsea and Juventus.
Donetsk defender Razvan Rat has pointed to Nordsjaelland's performance against Juventus last month - where they claimed a 1-1 draw - as proof of their credentials.
"We have to win here. It will not be as easy as it may seem in theory. Nordsjaelland are an organised football team," he told Shakhtar's official website.
"During the match with Juventus there were moments when they dominated."
Mircea Lucescu's men currently top the group, with just one point separating themselves, Chelsea and Juve.
Shakhtar could book a spot in the last 16 with victory in Denmark although they will also need a winner in Juventus' clash against Chelsea.
Not that the scenario concerns Shakhtar midfielder Olexiy Gai, who is hoping they can do the double over Nordsjaelland after a 2-0 win in Ukraine two months ago.
"Why think about it? First we have to take three points, and then we will look at the result of another match," he said.
"We are used to the Champions League atmosphere. Especially away from home, where our opponents always have great support. I think it will make us even more motivated to show good football and get a result in such an atmosphere."
Nordsjaelland were minutes away from claiming their first Champions League victory in their last home match but Mirko Vucinic's late strike rescued a share of the spoils for Juventus.
A 4-0 reverse against the Italian giants last time out as well as a same-scorline defeat at home to Chelsea has undermined their campaign.
Defender Jores Okore refuses to be too downbeat and thinks they can use their chastening experiences as a learning curve.
"I believe in our chances against Shakhtar Donetsk, although they will be highly motivated and need the three points," he told www.fcn.dk.
"We have learned from all the matches we have played in the Champions League, and we know that we must seize opportunities when they present themselves.
"It is important for us to make a statement by winning a battle. We really want to provide some results, and I feel we have a chance against Shakhtar, we played a good match against them in the Ukraine."
Andreas Laudrup misses out through injury for Nordsjaelland, while Mikkel Beckman will play no part after being forced to sit out training on Monday.
For Shakhtar, Dmytro Chygrynskiy is nursing a thigh injury and Tomas Hubschman will be prevented from figuring in the continental clash by a similar ailment.