Since making their UEFA Champions League debut in 2008, FC BATE Borisov have become regular participants in Europe's most prestigious club competition, reaching the group stage on three occasions.
The Belarusian title holders start their 2014/15 campaign in the second qualifying round at home to KS Skënderbeu on Tuesday, and are now aiming for a fourth group appearance under former midfielder Aleksandr Yermakovich, who succeeded Viktor Goncharenko last year. "He made a tremendous impact on the club," said Yermakovich of his predecessor. "During his tenure the team accomplished things that would have been hard to fathom back in the day. If you think back to eight or ten years ago when I was in the team, we didn't have these opportunities."
Yermakovich played over 200 games during a ten-year spell at BATE before effecting a seamless transition into coaching. "It's second nature for me. I don't have to study the club to understand how it works," the 39-year-old told UEFA.com. "I know the club's key principles and values. I don't have to destroy something in order to build something else. The club's heritage is very important to me."
There is no hint of BATE dwelling on past glories, however, though they have faced Real Madrid CF, Juventus and FC Bayern München among other European giants. "We have done a good job in terms of recruitment," said Yermakovich, whose side are second at the midway point in their domestic season. "The players are eager to show what they are made of and can't wait to get going. We may well be even stronger this year."
To hear more from Yermakovich ahead of that tie, click on the video player