Fenerbahçe ready for Shaktar clash with new guns
Cihan PhotoFenerbahçe, the Turkish giant that has undergone a facelift this summer by picking up Portuguese international Nani and Dutch star Robin van Persie from Manchester United, will return to the Champions League with a third qualifying round game against Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk, after the draw was made on July 17.
Shakhtar Donetsk, which reached the knockout phase of the competition in 2014/15, will return to the scene of its 2009 UEFA Cup triumph, Istanbul’s Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, when it faces Fenerbahçe in the first leg of the tie on July 28 or 29.
The second leg will be played on Aug. 4 or 5 in Ukraine.
Mircea Lucescu in not a foreigner to the stadium, as he has coached Turkey’s Galatasaray and Beşiktaş in his career, clinching league titles with both clubs.
Galatarasay, last year’s league winner, will directly participate in the group stage of Europe’s top club-level competition.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the July 17 draw in Nyon, Switzerland, last year’s quarter-finalists AS Monaco were drawn with Young Boys in the Champions League third qualifying round.
Basel, another side that got out of the group stage last year, were paired with Bosnian or Polish opposition.
Fenerbahçe inked in June a deal with Portuguese coach Vitor Pereira, who has just departed from Greek giants Olympiacos.
Nani joined Fenerbahçe on July 6 for 6 million euros (4.26m, $6.7m), as last year’s Super League runner-up seeks to add a glittering array of foreign talent to its ranks for the new season.
Fenerbahçe said in a filing to the stock exchange earlier this week that its new forward van Persie will earn 4.9 million euros ($5.4 million) per season in annual salary for three years. Additionally, he will earn 20,000 euros ($22,000) in bonuses per match, although match bonuses are limited to 40 a season.