Lucescu urges Shakhtar to become Euro 'heroes'
Mircea Lucescu is well aware that his Shakhtar Donetsk side are massive underdogs heading into their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie with Bayern Munich, but has challenged them to become "heroes".
Lucescu's men have not played a competitive game since mid-December, when they finished the group stages of Europe's premier club competition with a 1-1 draw against Porto.
Bayern, by comparison, travel to Lviv – the alternative venue for the match due to ongoing conflict in Ukraine – for Tuesday's first leg off the back of an 8-0 Bundesliga win over Hamburg last weekend.
The odds are firmly stacked against the Ukrainian champions, as Lucescu knows only too well.
"We will be heroes if we beat Bayern and qualify for the next stage," said the long-serving head coach, who has been in charge since 2004.
"Our last competitive game was 10 weeks ago and also you know about the conditions we have been working in during this season.
"Almost everyone will tell you Bayern are going to qualify for the quarter-finals, especially after their 8-0 win in the last league match.
"Bayern have played four competitive games this year so their coach knows very well the potential of his players, while we have only played friendlies and we will only see our players' condition [on Tuesday].
"Bayern are clear favourites. They are one of the best teams in the world, with a great coach who loves his work very much.
"For the last two years, he has changed Bayern and made them play as a 'latin' side. He is creating a unique team."