Having taken the Belarussian title since their last UEFA Europa League outing, FC BATE Borisov hope they can finally get a first win in Minsk as AEK Athens FC look to put their away-day blues to bed.
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Having taken the Belarussian title since their last UEFA Europa League outing, FC BATE Borisov hope they can finally get a first win at the Dinamo Stadium in Minsk – and their first points in Group I – as AEK Athens FC visit looking to put their away-day blues to bed.
• The teams have never met, and this is also BATE's first game against Greek opponents as well as being AEK's maiden experience of Belarussian football.
• Playing big games at the Dinamo Stadium in Minsk has yet to pay off for BATE. Their seven European matches there have produced a draw and six defeats, during which they have scored three goals and conceded 14 – an average of two goals shipped per game.
• By contrast, they have lost only one of their last nine European encounters at their own Gorodskoi Stadium, which has a capacity of 5,402.
• AEK's 4-0 loss at Everton FC on Matchday 1 extended their run of poor away form in Europe to one win in their last 12 matches.
• BATE, famously a team founded at a Borisov tractor factory, are led by Viktor Goncharenko, who last season became the youngest coach to hold the reins at a side in the UEFA Champions League, aged 31. A year older, he is now the youngest coach to lead a side into the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Once a BATE defender, Goncharenko was forced to retire young through injury but stayed at the club as a coach, working his way up through the ranks before taking sole command in 2007.
• Dušan Bajević is in his third spell as AEK coach. The former Yugoslavia striker spent four years at the club as a player, winning Greek titles in 1978 and 1979, in between spells with FK Velež from his native Mostar.
• He won four Greek championships in his first stint as AEK coach (1988-96) before incensing many fans by moving to Olympiacos FC and winning titles there in three successive seasons. He rejoined AEK in 2002 but quit midway through a match against Iraklis FC in 2004. His current reign began in 2008.
• BATE claimed their fourth successive Belarussian title – and their sixth in total – with a 4-0 win over FC Naftan Novopolotsk on 5 October, which gave them an unassailable lead with five games to spare.
• Coach Goncharenko remained optimistic about his side's UEFA Europa League prospects afterwards, saying: "We are not in a good position now, but anything can happen in football. We will do our best in the next matches."
• The two sides meet again in Athens on 5 November for Matchday 4.