BATE Borisov general secretary Andrei Vashkevich provides Roma fans with a guide to the Belarusian club’s season so far and reveals which Roma players he’d love on his side...
What have you made of BATE Borisov’s Champions League campaign so far?
“This is the first ever time we have gone into Matchday Six with a chance to make the last 16, which is great. On the other hand, we feel we could have done better, especially in our game at Bayer Leverkusen. Domestically BATE have proven they have one of the strongest sides in history, winning the title, cup and super cup, as well as enjoying a successful Champions League campaign.
"It all started in July, as we had to go through three rounds of qualification. That was also crucial and we managed to make it to the group stage. Now with one game to go a lot is at stake. BATE have complete respect for AS Roma but will try to produce their best on the pitch.”
How have the new summer signings settled in?
“As our season runs on a different calendar to the rest of Europe, we do most of our signings in the winter. Nemanja Milunović has done great this year as has Nemanja Nikolić, who joined in the summer. Other signings in 2015 Kaspars Dubra, Ihar Stasevich and Alexei Rios have all played their part too. And of course Alex Hleb added some creativity up front after returning to BATE in the summer.”
Who has been BATE Borisov’s most consistent player so far?
“Nemanja Milunovic has had an amazing season. He is in with a chance of being voted the player of the year in the Belarusian Vysshaya Liga. Ihar Stasevich has been great too, scoring important goals against AS Roma and Partizan in the Champions League play-off.”
What has been BATE Borisov’s best performance of the season and why?
“Probably the first half against AS Roma game was the biggest revelation. The second wasn't bad either, but that 3-0 lead was fantastic both in terms of the result and quality of our play. Overall, a 3-2 win was really impressive.”
What has been the worst match and what went wrong?
“Away at Bayer Leverkusen. Our first group stage game. It was 1-1 at half time but the second half was a disaster. We made too many mistakes and the opposition punished every one. It was just a bad performance.”
Which area of the team has been the strongest so far and which has been the least effective?
“BATE are quite balanced this season.”
From what you’ve seen of all the teams in this year’s Champions League, which side has impressed you the most so far?
“Barcelona are fantastic, though BATE did manage to put in a good performance both at home and away. At the Camp Nou the referee did not award BATE a penalty which was blatant, especially when compared to what he had given Barcelona's way prior to that.”
What have you made of Roma’s start to the season?
“Roma are a strong team and can beat any opponent. They have quality players and are famous for a lively attacking style. This season is no different. They have lost some matches but that's part of football, it's unavoidable.”
Who is the Roma player most BATE Borisov fans fear?
“We are afraid of Roma as a team. Every player in the side can stun the opposition.”
If you could add one Roma player to the BATE Borisov, who would you pick and why?
“We would pick Francesco Totti but he is too dedicated to Roma so probably wouldn't play even in a hypothetical situation. But Roma has plenty of other good players. Daniele De Rossi is excellent, Gervinho and Edin Dzeko add to their attacking power and Alessandro Florenzi has made a massive contribution this season.”
What’s your score prediction for Wednesday?
“The only thing I can predict is that the BATE players will show 100% commitment and dedication to win at the Stadio Olimpico.”