It’s a huge European tie this Tuesday night as PSV travel to Belarus to face BATE in a Champions League qualifier, Will Burns previews what is a one of four most important nights for Dutch football in the next fortnight.
BATE Borisov vs. PSV
Tuesday, 20:00BST – Live on BT Sport 3
Tuesday night sees PSV Eindhoven embark on their Champions League qualification in a two-legged affair that is one of the most significant games in recent history for Dutch football.
Last December, on the release of the new UEFA rankings, it was declared that the champions of the Eredivisie would not automatically qualify for the Champions’ League group stages. For at least the next two seasons, the Dutch champions have to go through the preliminary rounds before competing in the group phase. This was a huge blow to the country that has claimed three different European champions – Feyenoord, Ajax and PSV.
The Netherlands are now 14th in the UEFA rankings behind neighbours Belgium and the likes of Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland who arguably host weaker leagues. Unfortunately, due to the lack of success in previous European competitions, this has what has become of Dutch football now as the Eredivisie has become a significant exporter of young talent to bigger leagues.
The Dutch teams need to act to improve the situation for the future of the league, and there’s certainly one way to start on Tuesday night: PSV to clinch the win away to Belarusian’s BATE Borisov. I predict this will be a hard task for Marc van Bommel’s side as history has proved that BATE are always a tough proposition at the Borisov Arena. In the last ten European ties at home, BATE have been dealt one defeat, a 4-2 Europa League loss to Arsenal last season.
BATE have a lightning quick counter attack that should be spearheaded by Montenegrin international Mirko Ivanić. The 24-year-old attacking midfielder/winger showed off this prowess in the last round at home to Azerbaijani opponents Qarabağ FK in a second leg 1-1 draw. Ivanić capitalised on a wayward pass across the defence and powered a run through onto goal to place the ball confidently in the net.
However, they did look suspect at the back that PSV may find rewarding. Using the counter attack, BATE received a lot of pressure over the two leagues against the Azerbaijan champions, outscored heavily 29-13 over the two legs. One has to think with the quality in the PSV attack (Hirving Lozano, Gaston Pereiro, Steven Bergwijn and Luuk de Jong) this defence can and should be breached and give the Eredivisie champions victory that themselves and Dutch football greatly need.
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The Belarusian Premier League has been on a short summer break throughout August so BATE are fully refreshed with no injuries announced.
In the 2-1 win away to a physical Fortuna Sittard on Saturday evening, in which Luuk de Jong stated: “We were lucky to snatch a late win”, Marc van Bommel named an unchanged side. It is thought he will do the same against BATE. No first team injury worries.
BATE Borisov have lost just one game in the last ten European home ties – a 2017/18 Europa League group stage fixture vs. Arsenal that finished 4-2.
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