BATE Borisov will hope for a case of third time lucky when they welcome reigning champions FC Barcelona to Minsk on matchday two.
Viktor Goncharenko’s side have lost both their previous home meetings with Spanish opposition and, on paper at least, are unlikely to have it any easier against the four-time European champions.
The teams are level in Group H on one point each, however, FC Barcelona being held 2-2 at home by AC Milan on matchday one and BATE earning a 1-1 draw at FC Viktoria Plzeň.
BATE Borisov enter this contest looking for not just a first victory against Liga opponents but also a first home win in the UEFA Champions League proper.
The Belarusian title holders suffered home and away losses in previous encounters with teams from Spain in Villarreal CF and Real Madrid CF.
In the UEFA Cup first round in 2007/08 they went down 4-1 in Villarreal and then 2-0 in Minsk. They took on Madrid in the following season’s UEFA Champions League group stage, succumbing 2-0 in the Spanish capital, and then 1-0 at home.
From today’s BATE squad, Dmitri Likhtarovich, Vitali Rodionov, Aleksandr Volodko, Aleksandr Yurevich and substitute Maksim Skavysh all featured in the 2008/09 home meeting with Madrid.
BATE Borisov took just one point from a possible nine at home in their debut UEFA Champions League campaign in 2008/09 but, since the start of last season, they have lost just one of their last 11 European outings in Borisov and Minsk. This run includes wins against Linfield FC and FK Ekranas in this term’s qualifying rounds and a 1-1 play-off draw with SK Sturm Graz.
FC Barcelona have never visited Belarus before but Josep Guardiola’s men have won their last two away fixtures in the UEFA Champions League and overall last season managed a record on the road of W3 D2 L1