BATE have mountain to climb at Barcelona
Monday, 28 November 2011
Beaten 5-0 by champions FC Barcelona when the sides met in Minsk, FC BATE Borisov visit Spain on matchday six needing a small miracle to avoid finishing bottom of Group H.
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With FC Barcelona already assured top spot and AC Milan second, the only remaining question in Group H is which club will take third place and FC BATE Borisov visit the Camp Nou with it all to do if they are to avoid the wooden spoon.
• Viktor Goncharenko's men sit two points below third-placed FC Viktoria Plzeň after their costly matchday five defeat by the Czech champions. That 1-0 reverse leaves them needing both a victory in Spain, and a defeat for Plzeň at home against AC Milan, if they are to snatch a UEFA Europa League spot. BATE have never before won a UEFA Champions League away game.
• Barcelona have no such worries, their 3-2 victory in Milan last time out having established an unbridgeable gap at the top.
• BATE suffered a 5-0 home defeat when the teams met for the first time in Minsk in September – their fifth defeat in as many encounters with Spanish opposition.
• This is the Belarusian title holders' third visit to Spain, where they went down 4-1 to Villarreal CF in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup first round and 2-0 to Real Madrid CF in the following season's UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Dmitri Likhtarovich, Aleksandr Volodko, Aleksandr Yurevich and unused substitutes Aleksandr Gutor and Maksim Skavysh were all involved in that September 2008 defeat in Madrid.
• Barcelona are unbeaten in 12 European home matches dating back to a defeat by FC Rubin Kazan on 20 October 2009. Their sequence of results at the Camp Nou since comprises ten wins and two draws.
• BATE's overall record on their UEFA Champions League travels this term, qualifying included, is W1 D3 L1. In the group stage matches this season and in 2008/09, they have recorded three draws and two defeats.
• Éric Abidal scored an own goal for France when he played against Belarus in a 1-1 draw on 3 June at the Dinamo Stadion in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying. Maksim Bordachev was in the home lineup.
• On 22 June Thiago Alcántara and Martín Montoya featured for Spain in their 3-1 UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-final victory against a Belarus side containing Gutor, Yegor Filipenko, Skavysh and substitute Dmitri Baga.
• Mateja Kežman played for Chelsea FC in a 4-2 home victory against Barcelona in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League round of 16, a result that secured a 5-4 aggregate triumph.
• The Serbian's only goal to date against a Spanish side in UEFA club competition was in Fenerbahçe SK's 3-2 home win against Sevilla FC in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie in 2007/08. Adriano, Daniel Alves and Seydou Keita were all in that Sevilla team and the latter two scored in a 3-2 second-leg win for Sevilla that took the game to penalties. However, after Kežman had struck to make it 3-2 in the shoot-out, Alves's saved spot kick sent the Turkish side through.
• Kežman hit eight goals in 30 league outing for Club Atlético de Madrid in 2005/06, including the Rojiblancos' second in a 2-1 home success over Barcelona in September 2005.
• Kežman and Ibrahim Afellay were team-mates at PSV Eindhoven in 2003/04, although the latter made only two substitute appearances.
• Kežman was sent off in Serbia and Montenegro's 6-0 Group C defeat by Argentina at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Gelsenkirchen, a match in which Lionel Messi scored his first competitive international goal.
• BATE fitness coach José Pastor Verchili was born in Castellon de la Plana on Spain's Mediterranean coast and after graduating from the Universitat Jaume I in Castellon, he earned his master's degree in a programme funded by Barça. He later continued his studies at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona before working as a fitness coach with the junior teams of Villarreal.