BATE Borisov v Barcelona: Three things that will shape the tie

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It's been three years since Barcelona last faced BATE Borisov in the Champions League and the Catalans managed to field an entire La Masia XI the last time they met.

Over the two legs, Barca came out on top by an aggregate of 9-0, but things might be a little bit closer this time around.

The Belarusians surprised everyone earlier in the competition when they raced into a 3-0 first half lead against AS Roma.


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Despite conceding two to the Italians in the second half, the rank outsiders of the group managed to hold on for the win.

Barca have an onerous journey ahead of them before arriving for Tuesday's game and jet lag could well be a problem for a tired and weary Blaugrana.

Let's take a look at three things that could shape the outcome to this game...

Home record

The Borisov Arena is something of a fortress for BATE. Just one defeat since November of last year at home is a record to be proud of. You can be assured that a vocal home crowd will be willing their side to claim the biggest scalp of all. That of a reigning European champion.

A 4-2-3-1 formation could play into Barca's hands so we may see a more defensive set up, certainly in the opening exchanges. But this is going to be one game where the visitors aren't going to get things all their own way. 

If they approach this one with a casual attitude, like Roma they will be punished.

Defensively naive

No, not BATE, Barcelona.

Look at the way in which the Catalans tried to defend against Rayo Vallecano. It was haphazard, amateur and certainly not in keeping with their usual play. This season has been nothing short of a disaster as far as defending is concerned.

Jeremy Mathieu must surely be fearful for his place in the side. He showed once again that he is woefully out of form and cannot really be considered as the ideal accompaniment to Gerard Pique any longer.

Thomas Vermaelen remains injured, Marc Bartra doesn't enjoy the confidence of Luis Enrique and the manager wants to keep Javier Mascherano fresh.

Something's got to give...

Ney, Ney and thrice Ney

Neymar is carrying the Barcelona team at present. Goals, assists and hard work have underscored his performances since Lionel Messi was ruled out with a knee injury.

It does seem an awfully long time ago now when people were questioning how the young Brazilian was going to fit into the team.

His willingness to deign to Messi whilst also providing top-level support to him has been one of the successes of this Barcelona side in the recent past.

A four-goal salvo at the weekend speaks of a player on a hot streak and if the Brazilian is given room, he will profit handsomely as he did against Rayo Vallecano.

Potential match winner.

What are your score predictions for BATE Borisov v Barcelona? Lets us know in the comments section below!

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