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Likhtarovich's promise to BATE faithful

Published: Tuesday 30 September 2008, 2.50CET
FC BATE Borisov captain Dmitri Likhtarovich's biggest hope before their first UEFA Champions League home game against Juventus is "not to disappoint the fans" in a 40,000 sell-out crowd at Minsk's Dinamo Stadium.
by Vladimir Bogachov
from Minsk
Likhtarovich's promise to BATE faithful
BATE's Dmitri Likhtarovich (right) shows a clean pair of heels to Madrid's Arjen Robben on Matchday 1 ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

BATEJuventus

Goals scored3
 
9
Attempts on target13
 
39
Attempts off target33
 
41
Corners30
 
40
Offsides14
 
15
Fouls committed117
 
148
Yellow cards14
 
19
Red cards1
 
1
 
Published: Tuesday 30 September 2008, 2.50CET

Likhtarovich's promise to BATE faithful

FC BATE Borisov captain Dmitri Likhtarovich's biggest hope before their first UEFA Champions League home game against Juventus is "not to disappoint the fans" in a 40,000 sell-out crowd at Minsk's Dinamo Stadium.

FC BATE Borisov captain Dmitri Likhtarovich's biggest hope ahead of their first-ever UEFA Champions League home game against Juventus is "not to disappoint the supporters" in a 40,000 sell-out crowd at the Dinamo Stadium in Minsk.

Realistic
BATE usually play at their Gradski Stadium in Borisov but, having come through three qualifying rounds, they will bring UEFA Champions League football to Belarus for the first time at the capital's main venue – while much of the country's population watch at home. Likhtarovich may be playing in his 42nd UEFA competition match, following his group-stage debut in the 2-0 defeat at Real Madrid CF a fortnight ago, yet he is realistic about BATE's chances against the two-time European champions. "Whatever happens, we hope not to disappoint our supporters," Likhtarovich told uefa.com. "Every team plans to get points, but some gain them while others do not."

Juve strength
Juventus are missing David Trezeguet and Gianluigi Buffon, and have Nicola Legrottaglie doubtful with a thigh problem, but they beat FC Zenit St. Petersburg 1-0 in their Group H opener and Likhtarovich recognises their strength in depth. "Juve are a club with no irreplaceable players," the 30-year-old midfielder said. "So our task will not be any easier. Juventus still have [Alessandro] Del Piero, the true leader of the team. He may not be the same Del Piero we knew seven or eight years ago, but he still scores regularly and makes assists. Then they have [Mauro] Camoranesi, [Pavel] Nedvěd, and their attack is strong enough even without Trezeguet."

Star status
Mixing it with the likes of Juventus, Madrid and Zenit is a major step up for BATE, who in their modern incarnation since 1996 have collected four Belarussian league titles. Likhtarovich is not feeling superstar status quite yet, however. "I don't notice any special attention," he said. "I can feel the interest, but we are not really recognised in the streets much – certainly not the way it is at leading European clubs."

Respect
Del Piero, who should be partnered up front by Amauri on Tuesday, is another for whom this BATE side remain an unknown quantity. "Sorry, but I don't know the BATE players by name," admitted the 33-year-old Bianconeri captain. "However, we have watched videos of them and we know something about them. They are a very young team who have achieved a lot, so I respect them very much. I think it will be a good game."

Last updated: 30/09/08 22.04CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2009/matches/round=15276/match=302719/prematch/focus/index.html#likhtarovichs+promise+bate+faithful

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