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ECL preview – pot 2 – Shakhtar Donetsk

FC Shakhtar Donetsk

Country: Ukraine

From: The city of Donetsk. It has a population of 1.1 million people and is the fifth largest city in Ukraine

Positioned: It is in the far south east of the country – 443 miles and ten hours from the capital Kiev to the west.

Description: Donetsk is quite near the Russian border and has a higher population on Russians than Ukranians, so there are Russian influences everywhere.

A visit to the Transfiguration of Jesus Cathedral is well worth it.

Random fact: The city was founded in 1869 by Welsh businessman John Hughes who constructed steel plants and coal mines.

The Club : Shakhtar won the 2011/12 Ukrainian Premier League, finishing four points clear of nearest rivals Dynamo Kiev and qualified automatically for the group stages.

Chances of playing United : One in seven.

Stadium: The Donbass Arena holds 51,504 people and is situated in the northern part of the city centre.

It was opened in August 2009 and is a true architectural marvel, resembling a flying saucer from the outside.

It was one of the Euro 2012 venues.

To reach it, you have to take a 20-minute tram from the train station costing 20p return.

: The away team would probably get about 3,000 tickets priced at £20 to £30.

What else is there to do besides football?
There’s a statue of Lenin in Lenin Square and plenty of places to shop but, apart from that, your time is probably best spent sampling the local ale.

Many fans who went to 2012 spoke highly of the city and its hospitality, though whether it is likely to be similar on a wet Wednesday night in December remains to be seen.

(unless stated all prices are per person per night based on two people sharing a twin or double room. They can be booked through booking.com on a pay-on-arrival basis. All bookings can be cancelled for free up to 24 hours before arrival)

Bargain – £21

The Art Hotel Liverpool (no, really..) at 131 Artema Street is a perfect place for reds to stay, despite the name.

It is a couple of minutes away from the stadium and from the city centre bars, but it also has its own live music bar and a Japanese cafe. Book via Expedia.

Breakfast is included in the price of the room, which also comes with air conditioning, heating, a TV and a minibar.

Value – £26

The three-star Eva Hotel, at Shora Str 29, is right in the city centre and a five-minute taxi journey to the stadium.

It has 38 bright and spacious rooms, each with air conditioning, a work desk, heating, a flatscreen TV, a minibar and a kettle.

There’s free wifi through out and a hotel bar and restaurant and you can pay a bit extra for breakfast.

Luxury – £105

The Donbass Palace Hotel is a five-star joint oozing with luxury. It’s at Artyoma Str 80, which is right in the centre of town.

The 129 rooms are spacious and well decorated. The price is hefty, but you get breakfast with it and the accommodation is classy.

Downstairs, you’ll find an Italian restaurant, a bar and a fitness suite with an indoor swimming pool.


The key thing to remember is that, because it’s so far away and has poor public transport links, you’ll have to either a) go on an organised trip or b) put at least a week aside for your trip.

When Arsenal played there in 2010, Thomson Sport ran day trip for £200.

Even flight/train combinations would cost £200 or so and any combination will take a lot of time.


Donetsk Airport

No airline goes from the UK to Donetsk, but you can fly from the UK to a middle airport and then fly onwards to Donetsk.

You can fly to Warsaw, Gdansk, Kiev Borispol or Berlin.

It would be at least £175 to get return flights from any of those places to Donetsk and at least £500 to get from the UK to those places and back.

Don’t bank on any of these routes though. Some aren’t all year round and only run at certain times of the week.

Alternative route via Kiev Borispol

£138 from Heathrow on Wizz Air or
£146 from Gatwick on Ukraine International and Aerosvit
and then pay £50 return for an 11-hour 27-minute train to Donetsk

Alternative route via Kiev Zhulyany
£138 from Luton Wizz Air, then as above

Via Warsaw International

£138 from Heathrow on British Airways and LOT

then a 29-hour sleeper train changing at Dnetpropertrovsk Glavnij and Kiev costing about £120 return

Via Warsaw Modlin

£25 from Stansted on Ryanair
£39 from Manchester on Ryanair
£49 from Luton on Wizz Air
£83 from Liverpool on Wizz Air and Ryanair
£100 from Doncaster on Wizz Air
£137 from Glasgow Prestwick on Wizz Air and Ryanair

Then as above

Via Bacau in Romania

£137 from Luton on Blue Air

then a 38-hour sleeper train journey changing at Chisnau and Shmerinka

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