Champions of Hungary and Belarus respectively in 2017/18, Vidi and BATE meet on matchday one.
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The champions of Hungary and Belarus go head to head in Budapest on UEFA Europa League matchday one, with both Vidi and BATE Borisov having transferred to the competition after losing their UEFA Champions League play-offs.
• The clubs have met in one previous tie, BATE prevailing 2-1 on aggregate in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round (1-1 away, 1-0 home), with Paulo Vinícius, who is still at Vidi, scoring a late equaliser for the Hungarian side in the home leg staged in Szekesfehervar.
• That is Vidi's only experience of Belarusian opposition, but BATE have also played four matches against Debrecen with the record W2 D1 L1. They won one and lost one of the two games in Hungary.
• Vidi were Hungarian champions last season for the third time – after 2010/11 and 2014/15 – and were one step away from a UEFA Champions League group stage debut after qualifying wins against Dudelange, Ludogorets and Malmö – three teams who have also found their way into the UEFA Europa League group stage. However, a 3-2 aggregate defeat by AEK Athens ended that part of their 2018/19 European journey.
• Vidi have reached the UEFA Europa League group stage once before, in 2012/13. Although they progressed no further, they did collect six points thanks to landmark wins against Sporting CP (3-0) and Basel (2-1) in their opening two home fixtures; they lost the third 0-1 to Genk.
• The club's eight European games this season have yielded just two wins – both at home – but their only defeat in that run also came on Hungarian soil when AEK Athens defeated them 2-1 in Budapest in the first leg of the play-offs.
• Midway through competing in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage BATE clinched the Belarusian league title for the 12th year in a row. They are back in the same European competition having missed out on UEFA Champions League group stage qualification, a pair of 2-1 aggregate victories over HJK Helsinki and Qarabağ preceding a heavy play-off defeat by PSV Eindhoven (2-3 home, 0-3 away).
• BATE are in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the fourth time and the second year in a row. They advanced to the knockout phase in 2010/11 but have been unsuccessful in the other two campaigns, finishing bottom of their section last season after taking just five points from their six games against Crvena zvezda, Arsenal and Köln.
• The Borisov club's away record in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W2 D3 L4 and there have been no wins in the last four such fixtures. The most recent brought the club's joint heaviest away defeat in Europe, a 6-0 loss at Arsenal on matchday six last season.
Links and trivia
• BATE's Aleksandr Hleb scored for Belarus against Hungary in a 5-2 friendly win in Debrecen on 17 April 2002. Vidi's Georgi Milanov has done likewise for Bulgaria against Belarus, opening the scoring in a 2-1 win in a Sofia friendly on 5 March 2014.
• Vidi head coach Marko Nikolić had BATE's Mirko Ivanić on his playing staff at Vojvodina in 2013.
• Although there are 12 reigning domestic champions competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage – a quarter of the field – this is one of only two matchday one ties between them, the other being Celtic-Rosenborg in Group B.
• His playing career having been curtailed at an early age through injury, Belgrade-born Marko Nikolić began coaching at various levels with local club Rad and graduated to the position of head coach in 2008. His reputation grew year on year during spells with Vojvodina, Partizan and Slovenian club Olimpija Ljubljana, and he was re-employed by Partizan in August 2016, promptly winning the league and cup double. Further success followed in 2017/18 as he masterminded Vidi's Hungarian league triumph in his debut campaign.
• Handed the position of BATE Borisov head coach in June 2018, as a replacement for Oleg Dulub, Aleksei Baga was an internal appointment, having served the club as assistant coach for seven years. A former defender, he also spent most of his playing career at BATE, winning league titles in 2002 and 2006, the latter coupled with a domestic cup victory, before ending his career – after a brief spell in Latvia – with rival club Dinamo Brest.