Lille - BATE Borisov Preview: Hosts aim to avenge last years' poor showing
Rudi Garcia's men struggled in a manageable group last season before being eliminated at the first hurdle of the competition, and will want the best possible start this time around
By Mohammed Ali
Debuchy, Beria, Chedjou, Digne
Martin, Mavuba, Balmont
Payet, Roux, de Melo
Radkov, Polyakov, Simic, Bordachev
Volodkov, Likhtarov, Sivakov
Lille coach Rudi Garcia gears up for another Champions League campaign with a number of issues in defence. Both Marko Basa and David Rozehnal did not start in the 1-1 draw against Troyes at the weekend, meaning left-back Franck Beria could well start alongside Aurelien Chedjou once more.
Rio Mavuba is expected to reclaim his starting berth in place of Benoit Pedretti after the captain was rested after his France exploits, whilst Mathieu Debuchy returns from a month-long injury lay-off to feature.
For much of the BATE Borisov side, this will be their second trip to France in two weeks, after the national team's 3-1 defeat to France in World Cup qualifying last week.
The likes of Radkov, Polyakov, Bordachev featured in that game in Paris, and could well pose a threat once more.
Coach Victor Goncharenko will ring the changes, and the side should not be too dissimilar from the one that knocked out Ironi Kiryat Shmona in the play-offs.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Lille qualified for the Champions League group stage by beating FC Copenhagen 2-1 on aggregate, albeit after extra time.
- Les Dogues, who are featuring in the group stage for the fifth time, were knocked out by CSKA Moscow, Inter and Trabzonspor last year.
- Lille failed to win any of their home games in last year's group stage.
- BATE Borisov qualified after beating Kiryat Shmona 3-1 on aggregate.
- The Belarusian side's last visit to France was in 2010-11, when they were knocked out by Paris Saint-Germain in the Europa League.
- BATE's away record in the Champions League proper reads W2 D5 L5.
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Top 3 Predictions
LOSC Lille Métropole 2-0 BATE
- 24.83 %
LOSC Lille Métropole 2-1 BATE
- 15.86 %
LOSC Lille Métropole 1-0 BATE
- 15.17 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 20, 2012||BATE 0 - LOSC Lille Métropole 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Sep 19, 2012||LOSC Lille Métropole 1 - BATE 3|
|LOSC Lille Métropole|
|Dec 15, 2013||LOSC Lille Métropole 2 - SC Bastia 1||FRA1|
|Dec 8, 2013||Bordeaux 1 - LOSC Lille Métropole 0||FRA1|
|Dec 3, 2013||LOSC Lille Métropole 1 - Olympique de Marseille 0||FRA1|
|Nov 30, 2013||Valenciennes FC 0 - LOSC Lille Métropole 1||FRA1|
|Nov 24, 2013||LOSC Lille Métropole 1 - Toulouse FC 0||FRA1|
|-||Aurélien Chedjou Fongang||Defender|
|24||Rio Antonio Mavuba||Midfielder|
The left-back has been a revelation ever since being promoted to the first team midway through last season. Digne scored in the play-offs to get Lille going against Copenhagen, and his peformances have been that impressive, that Frank Beria has been shifted to the centre-back role. Pacy, athletic, and defensively astute at 18, Digne was linked with Chelsea. He will be hoping to make a major impression.
The Belarusian striker scored the goals to book a group stage berth for BATE Borisov, and will be hoping to make more of an impact this year, after the club were drawn with Barcelona and Milan in 2011-12. Possessing a keen eye for goal, Rodionov needs no second invitation to shoot, and will be more of a handful.
The hosts will want to christen their new stadium with a win in their first Champions League game at the Grand Stade. BATE looked sluggish against Kiryat Shmona in the play-offs, and though they pose a threat, Lille possess more quality. A narrow win in my eyes.