Arsenal v BATE background
Despite surrendering their unbeaten Group H record on matchday five, Arsenal were confirmed as section winners that evening.
• The Gunners were beaten 1-0 at Köln last time out and complete their European autumn programme with a home fixture against a BATE Borisov side who can only join them in the round of 32 if they win in London and the other group game, between Crvena zvezda and Köln in Belgrade, is drawn.
• Arsenal’s first encounter with Belarusian opposition, in Borisov on matchday two, proved a fruitful affair as they scored three times in the first 25 minutes, including a double for Theo Walcott, en route to a 4-2 victory.
• BATE’s only other experience of English clubs was a pair of 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage matches against Everton; they lost 2-1 at home but won 1-0 in Liverpool so are protecting a 100% success rate on English soil.
• In 19 UEFA Champions League campaigns, Arsenal only ever played at home six times on matchday six; they are unbeaten in those fixtures (W4 D2). They have also won their last three matchday six encounters – all away – in the UEFA Champions League, winning by a three-goal margin on each occasion.
• Arsenal are undefeated in their last seven UEFA group home games (W5 D2) since a 3-2 loss to Olympiacos on matchday two of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League.
• BATE have won just twice in their last 24 European away fixtures (D7 L15), both victories coming this season – 3-1 against Armenian champions Alashkert in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, and 2-1 versus Ukrainian club Olexandriya in the UEFA Europa League play-offs. Both wins came in the second leg after they had drawn the first match 1-1 at home.
• Arsenal are making their UEFA Europa League group stage debut; their last campaign in this competition was the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup, which ended unhappily when they lost on penalties to Galatasaray in the final.
• BATE qualified for the group stage by ousting Olexandriya in the play-offs, having lost to Slavia Praha on away goals in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. They have qualified for the round of 32 once from their two previous UEFA Europa League group campaigns, in 2010/11.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Borisov to London is a little over 1,900km.
• The clubs have a notable former player in common: midfielder Aleksandr Hleb (BATE 1999–2000, 2012–13, 2015, 2016; Arsenal 2005–08), who played in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final for the Gunners.
• BATE won their 12th successive Belarusian title in dramatic fashion on 26 November, midfielder Mirko Ivanić scoring an equaliser deep into added time to earn a 3-3 draw at Gorodeya that enabled them to pip Dinamo Minsk to the championship on head-to-head record.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Stanislav Dragun, Nemanja Melunović, Nikolai Signevich (BATE)
• Arsène Wenger has been Arsenal boss since 1996, leading the Gunners to three English titles, seven FA Cup wins and the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. An unremarkable player, he made his name as a coach with Nancy and Monaco in his native France.
• Aleksandr Yermakovich has been on the staff at BATE since joining as a midfielder in 1998. He won Belarusian titles as both player and assistant coach to Viktor Goncharenko – supplemented by five further championships since he took sole command in 2013.