Crvena zvezda are building up steam at home in Europe as they welcome BATE Borisov in their opening UEFA Europa League Group H game.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.

• Crvena zvezda’s only previous encounter with a Belarusian club was a high-scoring affair; they got the better of Naftan Novopolotsk in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round after a 4-3 win in Belarus and a 3-3 draw at home.

• BATE’s only past tie against Serbian opposition produced an away-goals victory over Crvena zvezda’s eternal rivals Partizan in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League play-offs: they won 1-0 at home and lost 2-1 in Belgrade.

Form guide
• Crvena zvezda are on a four-game home winning streak in UEFA competition.

• BATE have won two of their three European away fixtures this season, but are without a win in eight UEFA group stage away games (D1 L7) ever since a 3-1 success at LOSC Lille in their 2012/13 UEFA Champions League opener.

• Second in Serbia last term, and losing UEFA Cup finalists in 1978/79, Crvena zvezda last reached this group stage in 2007/08.

• Belarusian champions BATE are back in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time since 2010/11, when they advanced to the round of 32.

Links and trivia
• The journey from Borisov to Belgrade is around 1,200km.

• Crvena zvezda are one of three teams to have made it all the way from the first qualifying round to the group stage this season, along with Skënderbeu and Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

• This game is taking place the day after Crvena zvezda defender Marko Gobeljić’s 25th birthday, with BATE’s Mirko Ivanić turning 24 on the same day.

• Montenegrin international Ivanić played in Serbia with Vojvodina (2012–16), where Crvena zvezda’s Srdjan Babić (2014–15) and Nemanja Supić (2012–13) were among his team-mates.

• BATE’s Stanislav Dragun and Crvena zvezda’s Milan Rodić played together at Russian outfit Krylya Sovetov Samara in autumn 2015.

• If selected, BATE’s Serbian forward Anes Rušević and centre-back Nemanja Milunović will be returning to their home country for the match.

• Crvena zvezda’s Richmond Boakye was the joint-top scorer in UEFA Europa League qualifying this season with seven goals – level with Trakai’s Maksim Maksimov.

The coaches
• Vladan Milojević returned to Crvena zvezda in June 2017, having played for the club in 1996. He spent much of his playing career in Greece with Panathinaikos and Iraklis, and headed back there as coach of Panionios from 2016–17.

• 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 – since supplemented by four championships after he took sole command in 2013.

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