Champions League Preview: Real Sociedad - Shakhtar Donetsk

Champions League Preview: Real Sociedad - Shakhtar Donetsk

Real Sociedad and Shakhtar Donetsk will both hope to start their European campaigns with a bang when they meet in Spain on Tuesday.

The home side progressed to the knockout stage of Europe's premier club competition in its last appearance in 2003-04, before losing to Lyon.

However, the club gained revenge for that elimination last month by beating the French side in the playoffs of this season's competition. 

Sociedad achieved a top-four finish in La Liga last term thanks mainly to a remarkable run of form that saw the club suffer just three defeats in 28 games under the tutelage of now-departed coach Philippe Montanier. 

Jagoba Arrasate is now at the helm and the San Sebastian-based outfit managed to bolster its squad with the likes of Esteban Granero, Jose Angel and Haris Seferovic in the close season, although key midfielder Asier Illarramendi left for Real Madrid. 

The team faces a testing encounter in their first Champions League tie since 2004 when it welcomes Ukrainian champion Shakhtar to Anoeta in Group A.

The Ukrainian club progressed to the first knockout phase of last season's tournament, where it was beaten 5-2 on aggregate by eventual finalist Borussia Dortmund. 

While Mircea Lucescu's men are currently unbeaten in 27 league home matches, their record away from Donetsk in Europe is far from impressive, as they have won only two of their last eight fixtures.

Lucescu's first-choice XI is likely to look significantly different to last season, although the Romanian did his best to offset the departures of Henrik Mkhitaryan and Fernandinho to Dortmund and Manchester City by bringing in Bernard, Fred, Facundo Ferreyra, Fernando and Wellington Nem.

Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter