Köln have lost all three of their Group H games ahead of the visit of a BATE Borisov side who ignited their campaign with victory against the Bundesliga outfit on matchday three.
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Yet to pick up a UEFA Europa League Group H point after three matches, and also struggling in the Bundesliga, Köln are in urgent need of a victory as they entertain a BATE side that beat the German club 1-0 on matchday three.
• A single goal from BATE's Belarusian international midfielder Aleksei Rios was sufficient to give his team their first victory in Group H as they saw off Köln in Borisov. The clean sheet was BATE's first in 12 European matches.
• BATE's record in seven games against German clubs is W4 D1 L2. Their three matches in Germany have brought two defeats – both by 4-1 margins in the UEFA Champions League group stage – and one victory, a 1-0 success at 1860 München in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
• Köln have lost their last four UEFA matches – three in Group H and one in the 1997 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
• BATE have won twice on the road in Europe this season, beating Armenian champions Alashkert 3-1 in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round and Ukrainian side Olexandriya 2-1 in the UEFA Europa League play-offs. Both wins came in the second leg after they had drawn the first game 1-1 at home.
• Runners-up in the two-legged 1986 UEFA Cup final, Köln are back in Europe for the first time in 20 years; their only previous group campaigns were in the UEFA Intertoto Cup. These are their first autumnal European fixtures for 25 years.
• Belarusian champions BATE qualified for the group stage by overcoming Olexandriya in the UEFA Europa League play-offs – having lost to Slavia Praha on away goals in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
Trivia and links
• The journey from Borisov to Cologne is around 1,500km.
• BATE's Jurica Buljat (Energie Cottbus 2013–14) and Vitali Rodionov (Freiburg 2009) have both played in Germany.
• BATE are currently locked in a three-way tussle with Shakhtyor Soligorsk and Dinamo Minsk for the 2017 Belarusian title. Should they prevail, it will be their 12th successive championship crown.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Stanislav Dragun (BATE).
• Peter Stöger has guided Köln back into Europe for the first time in 20 years. A four-time league champion – and 65-times capped international – as a player in his native Austria, he moved to Köln after steering Austria Wien to the 2012/13 title.
• Aleksandr Yermakovich has been on the staff at BATE since joining as a midfielder in 1998. He won Belarusian titles as both player and assistant coach to Viktor Goncharenko – since supplemented by four championships after he took sole command in 2013.