Red Star Belgrade vs BATE Borisov – Thursday 18:00 BT/19:00 CET at Marakana, Belgrade, Serbia.
Red Star Belgrade are back in European football. The 1991 European Cup winners qualified for the group stage of a UEFA competition for the first time in ten years. Back in 2007-08 Red Star were drawn in the group stage of the Europa League’s predecessor the UEFA Cup. Facing Bayern München, Aris, Bolton Wanderers and Braga Red Star finished in fifth and last place.
Since then the club has unsuccessfully attempted to return to the group stage of a European competition—coming close on several occasions Red Star were even banned during the 2014-15 season for failing to meet UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations. One of the most historic clubs in the region Red Star’s return to the Europa League group stage during the same season as their rivals Partizan also qualify has been a significant relieve in the red-and-white camp of Belgrade.
Drawn into an attractive group with Köln, Arsenal and Belarus’ eternal champion BATE Borisov Red Star will be considered the big outsider of Group H. With both a German and English team Red Star, in fact, will be battling BATE for the third spot in this group. Unlike Red Star, however, BATE has been a regular in European competitions qualifying for the group stage of a UEFA competition seven times in the last nine years.
Four times out of the seven years BATE played in the UEFA Champions League and as a result, will bring the needed experience to what will be a tight game on Thursday night in Serbia’s capital.
Red Star Belgrade vs BATE Borisov – Player to look out for:
Richmond Boakye #14 – Red Star Belgrade
Richmond Boakye was one of many strikers linked to Hannover 96 this summer. The Bundesliga side was looking at various options before finally settling for Brazilian striker Jonathas. The fact that Boakye was on the Bundesliga side’s radar, however, indicates his importance to the Belgrade side. Previously on loan from Latina Calcio Red Star were able to turn the deal for the striker full-time after he scored 12 goals in 16 Serbian SuperLiga games. The deal was his weight worth in gold as Boakye scored seven goals and three assists in eight Europa League qualification games helping Red Star to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League.
Aleksey Rios #17 – BATE Borisov
Aleksey Rios is an exciting player. Of Peruvian and Spanish decent Rios has been with BATE Borisov since the 2015 season. Having played with Shakhtyor Soligorsk the now 30-year-old Rios has become one of the most reliable right-backs in Belarusian football and has therefore been called up to the Belarusian national team. A bit of a late bloomer Rios (or Ryas to use his Belarusian name) will want to use the Champions League as a last attempt to make the jump to Western Europe.
Red Star Belgrade vs BATE Borisov – Match Stats
- The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
- Red Star Belgrade’s only previous encounter with a Belarusian club was a high-scoring affair; they got the better of Naftan Novopolotsk in the 2012-13 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round after a 4-3 win in Belarus and a 3-3 draw at home.
- BATE’s only past tie against Serbian opposition produced an away-goals victory over Red Star’s eternal rivals Partizan in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League play-offs.
- Red Star won 1-0 at home and lost 2-1 in Belgrade.
Futbolgrad’s Prediction: Red Star Belgrade vs BATE Borisov 2-2
Red Star Belgrade vs BATE Borisov – Possible Lineups
Red Star Belgrade
Borjan – Rodić, Savić, Le Tallec, Stojković – Donald, Kristicić – Ricardinho, Srnić – Pesić, Radonjić
Manager: Jaroslav Silhavy
Shcherbitski – Polyakov, Milunovic, Yablonski, Rios – Volodyko, Dragun – Stasevich, Ivanic, Gordeychuk – Signevich
Manager: Aleyksandr Yermakovich
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.