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Preview: Slovan Bratislava v BATE

ŠK Slovan Bratislava's "underdogs" could surprise visitors FC BATE Borisov as they prepare for their first full house at the Štadión Pasienky in almost 40 years.

Slovan eliminated Sheriff in the third qualifying round
Slovan eliminated Sheriff in the third qualifying round ©Boris Kharchenko

• Slovan Bratislava are set for their first Štadión Pasienky full house since 1975
• The Slovak side have yet to lose this season in eight matches
• Midfielder Marko Milinković trained on Tuesday for the hosts
• František Straka says Slovan, never before in the group stage, are "underdogs"
• BATE's Aleksandr Yermakovich highlights danger of Seydouba Soumah and Igor Žofčák

Possible lineups
Slovan: Perniš; Jablonský, Gorosito, Niňaj, Čikoš; Lásik, Štefánik; Milinković, Soumah, Žofčák; Fořt.
• Doubtful: Milinković took part in training on Tuesday.

BATE: Chernik; Mladenović, Filipenko, Polyakov, Khagush; Likhtarovich, Olekhnovich, Volodko, Krivets; Signevich, Gordeychuk
• Out: Dmitri Baga

František Straka, Slovan coach
We are really looking forward to the game. I have studied vidoes of BATE. I remember them playing against Viktória Plzeň in the Champions League [in 2011/12] and I saw their games against Bayern München [in 2012/13]. When we were drawn against BATE there was lot of euphoria. However, we are talking about a great team who regularly play European football. We fully respect them and we know their qualities.

Slovan in training on Tuesday
Slovan in training on Tuesday©UEFA.com

As the underdogs in this tie, we are in a position where we can surprise them. The key to success will be our defensive work, which needs to be top quality. Róbert Vittek is back after injury and will be ready for the game. Marko Milinković did not train with the team yesterday – he trained individually. We will decide on his fitness later.

We have achieved something amazing by qualifying for the Champions League play-offs. We will play in Europe at least until December, which was our aim. Getting into the Champions League group stage would be the icing on the cake. The team are showing signs of progress since I arrived in the summer. We are improving, but I still feel we have the ability and the quality in the squad to be even better.

BATE are an experienced team on the European stage – they are no newcomers. They are a determined side. They showed that against Debrecen, scoring the winner in the last few minutes of the tie. They are strong as a team and have a top striker in [Vitali Rodionov]. I managed to reach the Champions League group stage with Sparta Praha in 2004. My motivation tomorrow will be high because I really want to taste it again. Not every coach has the chance to lead a team in the Champions League.

Aleksandr Yermakovich, BATE coach
We have done our homework on Slovan. They are a compact side who are strong at home. They are well organised at the back with some skilful players up front. They put in strong team performances but they also have individuals who can decide a game.

They are definitely one of the best teams in Slovakia and have some of the best Slovak footballers. It is a club with rich history, great fans and tradition. We expect two difficult games. We consider them strong as a team with good players in all formations, but there are two that caught my eye – Seydouba Soumah and Igor Žofčák.

We do not feel like favourites – we come here with respect for our opponents. The chances of both teams are 50-50. We will do our best to bring home a result which would give us a reasonable chance to advance in the second leg.

Weekend results
Slovan 4-1 FK Senica (Soumah 14 32, Mészáros 62, Fořt 69; Kalabiska 40)
BATE 3-0 FC Dnepr Mogilev (Polyakov 25, Yakovlev 74, Gordeychuk 87)

Form guide (all competitions)
Slovan: WWDWWW

Match fact
• BATE have gone six games without a European away victory (D1 L5) – when did they last prevail on the road? Find out in our extensive match background.

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