Preview – Bate vs Barcelona – Matchday 2 UEFA Champions League 2011/12

Tomorrow 20 players will travel to Borisov (Minsk), Belarus for Matchday 2 of the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League.  We take on FC Bate Borisov, who are in just their 3rd ever Champions League, and therefore not surprisingly it is the first time we have faced one another.

Bate have lost at home on both occasions versus Spanish opposition, Real Madrid (0-1) and Villarreal (0-2).  In fact, they have not yet won at home ever in this competition, so we would be some scalp and a real story for this club’s history.  Points wise it’s even stevens, with Bate recording an away draw, 1-1 in the Czech Republic, on the first matchday.  Now, I’ve been watching a lot of football my whole life, but I cannot give much personal insight into this team.  Truth is I only know Mateja Kezman, the Serbian once super prolific striker at PSV who ruined his career at Chelsea under Mourinho, and who after that slipped into obscurity.  In fact, he just joined Bate this season from Chinese side South China AA.  But in his day, he was a very good player.  Otherwise, this side is nearly entirely local, with 87% being from Belarus.  The only foreigners are Kezman, another Serbian, and two Brazilians in Renan and Alex Porfirio.  I would guess though they will be very fit, tactically organized, and highly spirited.

As I mentioned, we have travelled with 18 first team player as well as Dos Santos and Isaac Cuenca, the sorta lanky, but skillful winger that got a lot of game time pre-season.  Here is the full list of 20: Valdés, Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Maxwell, Adriano, Abidal, Fontàs, Puyol, Mascherano, Keita, Busquets, Xavi, Thiago, Fàbregas, Pedro, Villa, Messi ,Cuenca, and Dos Santos.

Look, we all know that a loss will cause some drama, a draw will be thoroughly disappointing, and we all deep down expect us to triumph, in no small part thanks to that seriously excellent 5-0 win on Saturday.  But, these boys will be no slouches and should provide a stern test.  We have had really tight encounters in recent times in the East versus the likes of Shakhtar and Kazan.  These Bate players know this is a once in a lifetime moment and will treat this match like their Champions League final.  Like Pep said so correctly after Madrid, we played at a very high level, but the challenge is to maintain it.  If we don’t, as Guardiola underlined, “any team can beat us”.

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8 Responses to Preview – Bate vs Barcelona – Matchday 2 UEFA Champions League 2011/12

  1. lee says:

    Not much interest in this one, huh: still appreciated the write up because I know nothing about Bate, whom I hope do not rise to the occasion. Thanks!

  2. FC Barcelona Rocks!! says:

    4-1 to Barcelona =D

  3. FC Barcelona Rocks!! says:

    David Villa hatrick in the space of 20 minutes =D

  4. barcacentralnic says:

    This is one of those games that everybody thinks we should win but is likely to be more complicated. BATE may not have won at home but they have probably improved since only going down 0-1 to Real Madrid 3 seasons ago. They also drew both their games with Juventus in that 2008/09 group stage. Last season they beat Everton 0-1 at Goodison Park in the Europa League though it must be said that Everton played a much weakened side that day. We need to get things right tonight and I certainly won’t be too happy if we get another 2-2 draw. After only getting a draw with Milan we need a win tonight or the doubts will start to rise again. Hope we play four at the back with Busquets just in front of them, This is not a game to be messing around too much, I’ll go for a 0-2 win with goals from Pedro and Messi.

  5. i would rather suggest that gerrad pique starts in the central defence line up,followed by the likes of puyol,and of course mescherano all as defenders for tonight’s game with bate.i would also suggest that sergio busquett should play the role as a right full back and dani alves should play as a left full back and lionel messi should be given a free role on the pitch alongside fabregas.Xavi should be given a permanent position as a central midfielder and iniesta should play side by side with xavi in the midfield.pedro,messi,and villa should play as fowards in tonights game. i would be expecting a maximum of 5 goals in this match tonight.i suggest that every set piece that is given should be well utilised to produce the much needed goals tonight. I assure you God is on barcelona’s side tonight.abidal should replace pique if he has any injury problems.

    • barcacentralnic says:

      Thanks for posting that Lee. I think Graham Hunter has described the situation very well. Guardiola was quick to play down his comments and reafirm a good working relationship with Rosell and things seem calm for now, I’m sure they’ve found time to talk during the trip to Borisov. As readers who’ve followed me will know I was not keen on Rosell when he won the elections but so far he has been much better than I expected, though this is possibly more due to the excellent work of Zubizaretta and Josep Maria Bartomeu. I’d rather the charge against Laporta and the other directors were dropped, and I hope that Rosell doesn’t allow this stupid feud with Laporta to wreck things at a very happy club.

      • Fredegar says:

        Please someone forwards this article to Rosell, it makes for a terrifying reading… Fun to read that when I posted my take on the Qatar issue mentioning that Pep had “wisely” avoided to position himself on political matters, he was doing exactly that 😉 Still I can only be proud of a man who stands to his opinion and his friends!

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