AZ bowing out as BATE come calling

AZ Alkmaar can no longer qualify for the UEFA Europa League round of 32, but will be eager to end on a high note as FC BATE Borisov continue to target top spot in Group E.

AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek
AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek ©Getty Images

AZ Alkmaar can no longer qualify for the UEFA Europa League round of 32, but will be eager to end on a high note as FC BATE Borisov continue to target top spot in Group E.

• A 1-1 draw against FC Sheriff coupled with FC Dynamo Kyiv's 4-1 away win against BATE ended AZ's hopes of a round of 32 place on Matchday 5. BATE now trail Dynamo on head-to-head record, but will finish top with a better result in Alkmaar than Dynamo can get at home against Sheriff.

Previous meetings
•BATE won 4-1 when the sides met for the first time in Minsk on Matchday 2, with Vitali Rodionov, Artyom Kontsevoi, Renan Bressan (pen) and Edgar Olekhnovich registering before Kolbeinn Sigthórsson's late consolation for AZ.

• It was the Belarusian champions' first game against Dutch opponents and AZ's first meeting with a side from Belarus.

Match background
• Having made their UEFA Champions League group stage debut in 2008/09, BATE made it to the UEFA Europa League group phase for the first time last season, picking up seven points in their six games but failing to reach the round of 32.

• They will now be playing springtime European football for the first time in their history, and will be the first Belarusian club to do so since independence.

• AZ's 2-1 loss to Dynamo on Matchday 3 was only their second defeat in 39 European home games. They remained unbeaten for 32 continental games until they lost 3-2 to Everton FC in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage.

• BATE have won two and drawn one of their last three European away games.

Team facts
• AZ are four goals short of 150 scored in UEFA club competition. However, they are also one shy of conceding their 100th. This will be their 82nd European game.

• AZ's Nick van der Velden celebrates his 29th birthday the morning after the BATE game.

• AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek was a defender who spent his whole career at sc Heerenveen, barring a season on loan with Heracles Almelo. After retiring, he became Heerenveen assistant coach before striking out alone with Heracles from 2001 to 2004, and then replacing Foppe de Haan at his other old club. In 2008 he was lured to Feyenoord, but fared poorly. However, AZ took him on after a fine 2009/10 season back at Heracles.

• Verbeek competed in the first three UEFA Cup group stage competitions with Heerenveen, qualifying twice but missing out third time around in 2006/07.

• BATE coach Viktor Goncharenko is still just 33, having become the youngest man to take charge in a UEFA Champions League group stage fixture when BATE took on Real Madrid CF on 17 September 2008. He was just 31 at the time. A defender whose career was ended by injury at the age of 25, he has been in charge at BATE since the winter of 2007, winning three successive Belarusian titles.

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