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Paris Saint-Germain v Shakhtar Donetsk: Lucescu´s men eye Europa League spot

Shakhtar Donetsk will battle to keep their European campaign alive when they travel to Paris Saint-Germain in the closing round of Champions League Group A fixtures.

PSG are guaranteed to finish second in the group behind Real Madrid, meaning the best their Ukrainian opponents can hope for is third place and a route into the Europa League.

To do so, they must match Malmo’s result when the Swedish outfit take on Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Should the third and fourth-placed teams finish level on points, Shakhtar’s 4-0 triumph over Malmo on matchweek four – avenging a 1-0 loss in the reverse fixture – will give them a superior head-to-head record.

Coach Mircea Lucescu has a fully fit squad to choose from in the French capital, where Alex Teixeira will have another chance to impress.

The diminutive Brazilian midfielder scored twice as Shakhtar set up a grandstand finish in their 4-3 defeat to Real Madrid, extending his phenomenal prolific form to 26 goals in 25 appearances this season.

Chelsea are among the clubs to have been linked with Teixeira, but Lucescu is keen to play down speculation surrounding his star man and says there is no substance in the rumours.

“The issue of [Teixeira] is not relevant yet,” the coach told his club’s official website.

“It has more to do with the press and their fabricated stories. There is nothing like this going on yet.”

Travelling supporters will not be in attendance at the Parc des Princes, in line with security measures being undertaken under the direction of the French authorities following the Paris terror attacks last month.

The home fans are set to give Zlatan Ibrahimovic a rousing reception after he became PSG’s all-time leading Ligue 1 goalscorer thanks to a brace in Friday’s 3-0 win at Nice.

Ibrahimovic’s 86th and 87th strikes in France’s top flight moved him clear of Mustapha Dahleb, while the Sweden superstar is already the club’s top scorer across all competitions having surpassed Pauleta’s mark of 109 earlier this season.

He said: “We are getting stronger and stronger, especially after the match against Angers [last week’s 0-0 that halted a run of nine-consecutive Ligue 1 wins].

“Now we have to keep winning everything up until Christmas to have a good holiday.”

Laurent Blanc could welcome Marco Verratti back into his matchday squad, the Italy midfielder having been sidelined since suffering a calf injury after 17 minutes of the 1-0 loss at Madrid on November 3.

Serge Aurier scored in the 3-0 win at Shakhtar but is sidelined this time around,  while Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore remain out with respective knee and calf injuries.

Sun 6 Dec, 2015
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