BATE welcome Dundalk to the Borisov Arena for the second time in consecutive seasons on Tuesday as both sides look to progress through the Third Qualifying Round of the UEFA Champions League.
The Belarussian team conquered Dundalk in the previous round of last year’s competition and ended up in the group stages of the Champions League where they performed admirably with a home win over Roma and drawing at home to Leverkusen, before exiting the competition following a goalless draw at the Stadio Olimpico.
This season, they head the Belorussian Premier League and haven’t experienced a defeat in their last seven matches, including European ties. They qualified for this stage of the competition with a 4-2 aggregate win over SJK of Finland, recording a 2-0 victory at the Borisov Arena before drawing 2-2 in last week’s return fixture.
Last year’s encounter was settled by strikes from Alyaksandr Karnitsky and Yevegeniy Yablonskiy which resulted in a 2-1 home victory for the Belorussians. The visitors recorded a tense 0-0 draw in Oriel Park to send them through.
This week they have signed Alex Hleb, for the fourth time in his career, and he should add some experience to the BATE attack along with the experienced Vitali Rodionov. Dundalk fans will remember the attacker from last season and will be hoping that he doesn’t add to his 20 goals in UEFA competitions.
Dundalk will face BATE Borisov with a renewed vigour this season. Last year was somewhat of a journey into the unknown against seasoned UEFA competition regulars.
This season, however, the players will be more familiar with their surroundings and they come into the tie sitting on top of their domestic league and possessing one of the most in form strikers in European football at the moment, in the shape of David McMillan. The striker has scored 9 of Dundalk’s last 12 goals and is on a scoring streak of 4 consecutive games.
Dundalk arrive at this stage of the competition having disposed of Icelandic opponents FH Hafnarfjordur on away goals, following a 1-1 draw in Oriel Park and a 2-2 draw in Iceland. While Dundalk were defending stoutly for the last period of the game, they dominated the home fixture and the majority of the second half in Iceland.
Stephen Kenny made changes to the midfield at half time in the second leg, replacing John Mountney with Robbie Benson and changing the shape of the engine room. While these changes worked last week it would be a surprise to see major surgery to the starting team. BATE are likely to dominate possession so while the temptation may be to go out and try and force an away goal, there will also be a clear understanding of the importance of keeping the tie in the balance for the return leg, which is to be played in Tallaght Stadium.
Stephen Kenny has almost a full squad to choose from, with centre back Brian Gartland’s wrist injury depriving him of European football for the time being. His recovery period may be six weeks so he may yet see European action if Dundalk progress.
Dundalk have won two of their three away European games in the Stephen Kenny era. Defeating Jeunesse Esch 2-0 and Hajduk Split 2-1 in 2014, before losing 2-1 to BATE in the Borisov Arena last July.
In the second stage of qualifying last season, FH defeated Finnish champions SJK to progress to the third qualifying round. This season BATE Borisov have also beaten SJK to progress to the third qualifying round.
John Mountney was the last current Dundalk player, apart from Mc Millan, to score for the Lilywhites in Europe. Prior to David Mc Millan’s four strikes (3 this year, 1 v BATE in 2015), Kurtis Byrne and Pat Hoban scored in the defeat of Hadjuk Split while Mountney scored, along with Byrne and Gartland in the 3-1 defeat of Jeunesse Esch on the 10th of July 2014.
Home » BATE vs Dundalk » Bet365 » Europe Champions League 2016 » Live Stream » BATE vs Dundalk Live Stream, Preview and Prediction Europe Champions League 2016