Shakhtar Donetsk nomadic existence on!



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Shakhtar Donetsk to play in Gelsenkirchen Image: Arena AufSchalke, Wo st 01, CC BY-SA 3.0 de

The Ukrainian Premier League team Shakhtar Donetsk announced recently that they will play next season’s Champions League games at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, home of the 2. Bundesliga team FC Schalke 04, the next stop in the club’s exile from their war-torn country.

‘SPORTSDESK’ stated that Shakhtar were forced to leave their home ground, the Donbas Arena in Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine, after Russian-backed separatists seized control of the region in 2014.

The Football Club Shakhtar Donetsk is a Ukrainian professional football club from the City of Donetsk (Ukraine) which plays in the Ukrainian Premier League, the highest division of the Ukrainian annual football championship. In 2014, due to the war in Donbas (Region in Ukraine), the club was forced to move to Lviv (City in Ukraine) and had played matches in Lviv from 2014-2016 and in Kharkiv (City in Ukraine) from 2017-2020 whilst having its office headquarters and training facilities in Kyiv. In May 2020, Shakhtar started to play their home matches at the 70,050-capacity National Sports Complex Olimpiyskyi in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The Arena AufSchalke, currently known as the Veltins-Arena for sponsorship reasons, is a retractable roof and pitch football stadium in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It opened on August 13th, 2001 as the new home ground of the FC Schalke 04.

The FC Schalke 04 is a professional sports club from the Schalke district of Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany). It is best known for its football team which plays in the 2. Bundesliga, the second tier of the German football league system, following relegation from the Bundesliga (the top of the German football league system) in 2022-2023. The Veltins-Arena serves as their home ground.

The now-closed 52,667-capacity Donbas Arena is a stadium with natural grass pitch in Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine, which opened on August 29th, 2009. The stadium was forced to shut shop in 2014 due to war in the Donbas Region.

‘SPORTSDESK’ further stated that after Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, Shakhtar took their European fixtures to Poland for the 2022-2023 seasons but with the top-flight club of Poland Legia Warsaw qualifying for Europe in 2023-2024, the Ukrainian club played at Hamburg’s (Germany) 57,000-capacity Volksparkstadion.

Schalke, a seven-time German champion, last played in the Champions League as recently as 2018-2019 but currently play in the second division, having been relegated at the end of the 2020-2021 seasons.

The UEFA Champions League is an annual club association football competition organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and contested by the top-division European clubs deciding the competition winners through a round robin group stage to qualify for a double-legged knockout format and a single leg final.

Nyon (Switzerland)-based the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of six continental bodies of governance in association football. It governs football, futsal and beach football in Europe and the transcontinental countries of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan, as well as the West Asian countries of Cyprus, Armenia and Israel. The UEFA consists of 55 national association members. Since 2022, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the FIFA and UEFA suspended all Russian national teams and clubs from any FIFA and UEFA competitions.

According to the new Champions League format, the Ukrainian side will play four group stage matches at Gelsenkirchen’s Veltins-Arena along with their knockout games should they qualify.

Shakhtar Donetsk boss Serhiy Palkin said back in November that Hamburg and Germany “had made us feel very welcome”, with the club attracting more than 45,000 fans for each of their matches against the LaLiga team FC Barcelona (Spain), the Portuguese professional sports club FC Porto (Portugal) and the Belgian professional football club Royal Antwerp F.C. (Belgium).

The German Federal Office for Migration estimates that more than one million refugees have fled Ukraine for Germany since February 2022.

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