Chelsea will be seeking a fourth win from four Europa League Group L games in Thursday’s contest at BATE Borisov.
Here’s all you need to know about their little-known Belarusian opponents.
BATE have won their last three domestic league games and on Sunday clinched another Belarusian league title. However, they have not won any of their of their European home games this season and followed up a win at Vidi of Hungary by losing to PAOK Salonika of Greece and 3-1 at Chelsea.
Olivier Giroud, who joined Chelsea in January, scored a penalty in each of Arsenal’s Europa League group games with BATE. Only Mohamed Elneny remains of the Gunners’ goalscorers from the first match, in London, with Mathieu Debuchy, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott all having left the club. Arsenal scored 10 goals in the two games, conceding just two. BATE also played Everton in the 2009-10 group stage, winning 1-0 in Liverpool.
Former Arsenal and Barcelona forward Alexander Hleb started his career at BATE before transferring to Stuttgart in 2000 – and he is now in his fifth spell with the club. BATE’s title success was their 13th in succession. They are now one title short of the European record, held jointly by Latvian side Skonto and Lincoln of Gibraltar, according to Uefa.
Alyaksey Baha was named BATE head coach in June 2018, succeeding Oleg Dulub. He was an internal appointment after serving as assistant coach for the previous seven years. He won two league titles as a defender with the club.
Ones to watch
Hleb is 37 now and although he may not have the energy of old, he is still a quality technician. Midfielders Mirko Ivanic, Maksim Skavysh, Igor Stasevich and striker Nikolai Signevich all have keen eyes for goal.