Both BATE and PSV have been group stage regulars in recent years, so something has to give in their play-off tie.
Article top media content
BATE Borisov and PSV Eindhoven meet in the first leg of their play-off tie bidding to take a significant step towards the UEFA Champions League group stage, where both have been regulars in previous years.
• This is the first time the teams have crossed paths, but both have plenty of European pedigree – PSV lifting the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1988 while BATE have established themselves as hardy opponents at this level, earning notable home wins against Bayern München and Roma in previous years.
• The clubs have an unusual link in common; the flag on BATE's logo was inspired by PSV's badge. "It was important to reflect the will to win and be the best with our logo," explained BATE. "It was how the flag appeared. We adopted this idea from the Dutch [club] PSV."
• Belarusian champions for a 14th time in 2017 – their 12th title in a row – BATE have come through two qualifying rounds to reach this stage. They saw off HJK Helsinki and Qarabağ in the second and third qualifying rounds respectively, winning both ties 2-1 on aggregate.
• BATE have drawn both home games in this season's competition, extending their run of European home draws to three – indeed, they have won only two of their last nine European home games, although they have lost only once in that sequence, with six draws.
• The Belarusian club made the most recent of their five UEFA Champions League group appearances in 2015/16, when they finished bottom of Group E behind Barcelona, Roma – who they beat 3-2 at home – and Bayer Leverkusen.
• BATE have won all four of their previous UEFA Champions League play-offs – and three of their four in the UEFA Europa League, their sole defeat coming against Astana in 2016/17.
• In 2017/18, BATE lost to Slavia Praha in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. They went on to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage, finishing bottom of their section with five points from six games.
• BATE's sole previous European home tie against Dutch opponents ended in a 4-1 victory against AZ Alkmaar in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stage; they lost the away game 3-0.
• PSV are without a win in their last ten European games (D4 L6), since a 2-1 home win against CSKA Moskva in December 2015.
• Eredivisie champions last season, this is PSV's second UEFA Champions League play-off tie – they lost the first 4-1 on aggregate to AC Milan in 2013/14 (1-1 home, 0-3 away).
• The Dutch club have also taken part in five UEFA Europa League play-offs, winning them all – most recently against Belarus's Shakhtyor Soligorsk in 2014/15 (1-0 home, 2-0 away), with Aleksei Reios, now of BATE, appearing in both legs for Shakhtyor. That is their only previous tie against a club from Belarus.
• PSV's away record in play-off ties across the two competitions is W3 D1 L2.
• PSV's 2017/18 European campaign lasted only one tie – they lost 1-0 home and away against Croatia's Osijek in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.
• The Eindhoven club are aiming to reach the group stage for the 16th time – and the third occasion in four seasons. On their last participation, in 2016/17, they finished bottom of Group D with two points – the first time since 1992/93 they had failed to win a game in the group stage.
Links and trivia
• BATE midfielder Aleksandr Hleb played against PSV head coach Mark van Bommel in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final, Hleb's Arsenal losing 2-1 against Van Bommel's Barcelona at the Stade de France.
• PSV defender Nick Viergever was in the AZ team that beat BATE 3-0 on 15 December 2010.
• BATE defender Rios scored his first international goal in Belarus's 4-1 defeat against the Netherlands in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification in October 2016. Maksim Volodko was on target in a 3-1 home Belarus loss 12 months later.