BATE Borisov vs Arsenal – Thursday, September 28, 18:00BT/19:00CET – Borisov Arena, Borisov.
BATE Borisov vs Arsenal is a match that sees two sides that have been regulars in the UEFA Champions League in recent years. Arsenal, in fact, have never before played a UEFA Europa League campaign. Arsenal have not been outside the Champions League since the 1999-00 season when they reached the final of the UEFA Cup against Galatasaray.
BATE in the meantime are unbeaten in seven European home games (W3 D4). They have not been beaten on home soil since they lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the 2015-16 Champions League group stage. Given the relatively small size of Belarus and the economic resources of the club, BATE have in fact often over-fulfilled expectations. Their most famous win was, of course, the 3-2 victory over Bayern München in the 2012-13 Champions League campaign.
The result showed that the Belarusian giants, who are a dwarf on the European scale, are no pushovers. That said there are signs that the BATE of today are no longer the same side they were for many years. At home, the club is currently trailing Dinamo Minsk and Shakhtyor Soligorsk and are in danger of not winning a national championship for the first time since 2006.
Although Arsenal should not underestimate this opponent BATE are currently not in the form of a giant killer, the Borisov Arena would provide a beautiful setting for this game, and with BATE wanting to upset the apple cart this could be one of the more exciting games on this matchday 2 of the UEFA Europa League.
BATE Borisov vs Arsenal – Player to look out for:
Vitali Rodionov #20 – BATE Borisov
Vitali Rodionov is BATE Borisov’s most experienced player. The striker has been with the club since 2006 and only briefly left to play for SC Freiburg in the German Bundesliga. Joining Freiburg in January 2006 Rodionov, despite scoring four goals in 13 games, did not manage the big breakthrough and left the club in July of the same year. At BATE Borisov the Belarusian national team player can easily be described a legend. In 397 games he scored 157 goals and 73 assists. He also appeared 48 times for the Belarusian national team scoring ten goals.
Mesut Özil #11 – Arsenal
Mesut Özil started off the bench in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over West Bromwich on Monday. Given that Arsene Wenger will likely rotate his starting eleven against BATE Özil can be expected to be back in the lineup. The German international is not without his critics in the English capital, and there have been suggestions that he could leave the club on a free transfer next summer to join José Mourinho at Manchester United.
BATE Borisov vs Arsenal – Match Stats
- The sides are meeting for the first time, and it is Arsenal’s first encounter with Belarusian opponents.
- BATE’s only experience of English clubs was a pair of 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage games against Everton: they lost 2-1 at home but won 1-0 in Liverpool.
- BATE are the only one of the four teams in Group H to have previous experience of the UEFA Europa League group stage.
- The journey from London to Borisov is a little over 1,900km.
Prediction: BATE Borisov vs Arsenal – 0-3
BATE Borisov vs Arsenal – Possible Lineups
Shcherbitski – Gayduchik, Milunovic, Polyakov – Dragun, Ivanic, Rios, Stasevich, Volodyko – Gordeychuk, Radionov
Coach: Aleksandr Yermakovich
Ospina – Monreal, Koscielny, Mustafi – Kolasinac, Wilshere, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles – Özil, Giroud, Walcott
Coach: Arsene Wenger
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.