Nobody imagined that Bate Borisov would be a strong contender in group F, but they are on a roll at the moment. They shutdown both Lille and the mighty Bayern Munich in a classy manner and now ready to hunt down Los Che in their own backyard. Bate Borisov is now leading group F with 6 points and will offer the same threat to Valencia that they showed in last two matches.
On the other hand, Los Che’s away record is awful to be honest. They have not won an away match since April 2012 and their away losing streak is mounting. Things might change for the Bats as Banega, Albelda, and Mathieu have returned from injury. Joao Perreira is fit too and Feghouli is fresh for the clash as he did not play against Athletic Bilbao in La Liga. Ever Banega is the heart of the midfield for Valencia and he proved it against Bilbao. The Gago/Banega combination is a dream for many Los Che fans.
According to recent statistics the Belarusian champions have blocked 17 opposition shots so far, more than any other team in the tournament. Goalkeeper Andrey Gorbunov has caught 14 and punched 9 more high balls into his penalty area than any other glovesman in the Champions League. Only thing that might bother Bate is that they had won none of their six previous home games in the Champions League (D2 L4), before beating Bayern in their last outing.
On the other hand, Valencia got an exciting 3-2 victory against Athletic Bilbao which will give them much needed momentum. Again Bate will have the home advantage and they have exciting players like Alexander Hleb and Rodionov. They are playing good football at this moment and leading the table in their own league. Overall the stage is set and anyone can win the match.
Thu 18/10/12 PRL Slavia 1 – 2 BATE
Sat 13/10/12 CUP BATE 0 – 1 Torpedo Zhodino
Sun 07/10/12 PRL Belshina 0 – 1 BATE
Wed 03/10/12 UCL BATE 3 – 1 Bayern München
Fri 28/09/12 PRL BATE 5 – 1 Neman Grodno
Sun 21/10/12 PRD Valencia 3 – 2 Athletic Club
Sun 07/10/12 PRD Levante 1 – 0 Valencia
Wed 03/10/12 UCL Valencia 2 – 0 Lille
Sat 29/09/12 PRD Valencia 2 – 0 Real Zaragoza
Sun 23/09/12 PRD Mallorca 2 – 0 Valencia
Bate Borisov: None.
Valencia: Piatti, Sergio Canales.
Squad: Not announced yet.
Line-up: Gorbunov, Likhtarovich, Hleb, Volodko, Pavlov, Polyakov, Bordachev, Filipenko, Olekhnovich, Simic, Rodionov.
Tactics: High low defensive line, a lot of counter attack, wings pushing hard to put the ball in the middle.
Announced Squad: Alves, Guaita, Felipe, Joao, Barragán, Rami, Ruiz, R. Costa, Cissokho, Albelda, Gago, T. Costa, Banega, Parejo, Viera, Feghouli, Guardado, Bernat, Jonas, Valdez, Soldado.
Line-up: Guaita; Pereira, Rami, Ruiz, Cissokho; Banega, Gago, Jonas, Guardado, Soldado, Feghuoli.
Tactics: Low defensive line, overloading own box during the Bate attack and offering counter attack, full backs going forward, Banega and Gago commanding midfield, Soldado lurking in the Bate box.
Both Hleb and Jaoa Perreira are class no doubt about that, but the question is who will have his day? Hleb is a winger who will push hard and Perreira will be tested for sure. On the other hand, Joao Perreira likes to go forward and has all the qualities needed to bombard on the right side. It is really hard to pick betweens these two players, so the clash might be very entertaining.
Overall Bate is very coordinated and knows how to push forward. They don’t rely much on possession football and have players that can hurt Valencia’s defense. Both Rami and Victor Ruiz need to act together to repel any Bate attack. Rami is not in good shape and VCF is working on that to bring the best out of him again. The midfield battle will be the key as it should be. Gago and Banega vs Vodolko and Olekhnovich, the midfield combat is likely to determine the entire match.
Past history of Bate against Spanish opponents, rules in favor of Valencia. BATE Borisov have played six matches in Europe against Spanish opposition, and has lost them all. They also have failed to score in their last five European games against Spanish opponents. On the other hand, Los Che have won just one of their last 10 matches in European competition away from the Mestalla. So it is hard to say which record is more horrible. I believe the battle between all-time 3rd most successful team from Belarus and all time 3rd most successful team from Spain will be a heart pounding experience. I am expecting a 2-1 win for Los Che.
-Rezaur Rahman, website