BATE will look to back up an opening away win when they take on a PAOK side edged out by Chelsea in their first game.
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BATE Borisov made a strong start to UEFA Europa League Group L with a 2-0 win in Hungary at Vidi, but it was a different story for their matchday two visitors PAOK, defeated 1-0 at home by 2012/13 winners Chelsea.
• The teams have never met before in UEFA competition.
• BATE won their only previous home game against Greek opposition – 2-1 against AEK Athens in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage – while PAOK were also victorious on their only previous trip to Belarus, defeating Dinamo Minsk 2-0 in Borisov (after a 6-1 win at home) in the 2014/15 group stage.
• 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 home record in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W4 D1 L4. They have not won any of their three European fixtures at home this season (D2 L1) and have been victorious in only one of their last seven (D4 L2) – 1-0 against Köln on matchday three last term.
• PAOK enjoyed a successful 2017/18 on the domestic front, atoning for a rare early exit in Europe – they lost to Swedish debutants Östersund in the UEFA Europa League play-offs – by retaining the Greek Cup and finishing runners-up to AEK Athens in the Superleague. They harboured high hopes of reaching the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time this season when they knocked out Basel and Spartak Moskva in qualifying ties and then held Benfica 1-1 in Lisbon in the first leg of their play-off – only to suffer a second-leg 1-4 defeat in Salonika.
• That means PAOK have extended their record of having participated in every season of the UEFA Europa League to a tenth successive year. They have reached the group stage in six previous campaigns, four of which have extended into the knockout phase but never beyond the round of 32. Schalke were the most recent team to end their interest at that juncture with a 4-1 aggregate win in 2016/17.
• The Salonika side won their last matchday two encounter 2-1 at Slovan Liberec in 2016/17 and have an overall UEFA Europa League group stage record on the road of W8 D6 L4. The only defeat they have suffered in their last seven European away fixtures was 0-2 at Östersund last season (W2 D4).
Links and trivia
• BATE players Hervaine Moukam (Asteras Tripolis 2014–16 and Olympiacos Volos 2016/17), Dmitri Baga (Atromitos 2016/17) and Nikolai Signevich (Platanias 2017/18) have all played in Greece.
• This is PAOK's 38th UEFA Europa League group game – only Salzburg and FCSB have played more.
• 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.
• The son of Mircea Lucescu, Bucharest-born Răzvan spent most of his career as a goalkeeper with clubs from the Romanian capital. As a coach, he enjoyed early success with Rapid Bucureşti, winning back-to-back domestic cups and also steering the club into the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. He then had two years in charge of the Romanian national team, but it was in Greece that he further enhanced his reputation, firstly with Xanthi, then as a Greek Cup winner and league runner-up in his debut season at PAOK.