Fenerbahce – BATE Borisov 21.02.2013
Fenerbahce will be hoping to build on the goalless draw in the first leg and win the return match, even if this clash will be played in front of an empty stands.
BATE Borisov missed a great opportunity to create an advantage a week ago, and they could now find it hard to match in-form Fener.
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Fenerbahce have been making a steady progress over the last few years and they have done really well this season. While keeping up with arch rivals Galatasaray on domestic stage, they were absolutely brilliant in Europa League, winning the first place in the group that also contained the likes of Borussia M’gladbach, Marseille and AEL Limassol. The club have since brought Reto Ziegler back to the squad, while also signing Emre and Pierre Webo, making the squad even stronger than in the first part of the season. Fener were very unfortunate to have Raul Meireles pick up a red card at the start of the first match against BATE, but they showed a lot of character and quality to hold the hosts to a goalless draw. Things will be different now that Fener will be with 11 men on the pitch and even though there will be no fans in the stands, they will be watching the game and supporting their players from outside the stadium.
BATE Borisov are another club that have progressed a great deal over the last few years, and they were so close to reaching the Champions League knockout stages this term. However, following impressive wins over Lille and Bayern, they were soundly beaten in next four fixtures and had to settle for a place in Europa League. BATE have stayed without two very important players in the winter, as defender Marko Simic and midfielder Renan Bressan both left, and no doubt they will be sorely missed. The first match showed that BATE are completely out of form, which is hardly surprising when we know there is over a month before their league campaign starts, and that is another important reason why I seriously doubt the Belarus side will be able to match their more illustrious opponents.