BATE abandon tactical plan for Barcelona

BATE have opted to forgo their usual tactical plan to try to stop Barcelona, according to head coach Aleksandr Yermakovich. 

The Belarusian champions - who clinched their 10th consecutive domestic title at the weekend - last faced Barca in the Champions League group stage of the 2011-12 season, when they were beaten 5-0 at home and 4-0 at Camp Nou.

Ahead of another daunting trip to face the reigning Spanish and European champions, Yermakovich says they have learned from those defeats that overburdening the players with pre-game analysis can prove costly.

"This game will decide our hopes," he said on Monday. "Four years ago, we also played against Barcelona but then overloaded the team with tactical knowledge. We gave the players a lot of information but it did not help as we suffered two big defeats.

"Given that negative experience, this time we decided to keep tactical preparations to a minimum.

"On Friday we became Belarusian champions, but now we compete in a different competition and will employ a different strategy.

"The squad feels the excitement of an important game. Probably the whole of Belarus feels it. The responsibility [of representing the nation] is great, but we have to play well."

Yermakovich does not believe their task has been made much easier by the injuries to Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta, both of whom will miss Tuesday's game with respective knee and hamstring injuries.

"Barcelona will be missing two leaders, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta. They are outstanding players, but their whole team consists of top players. So, we face a very difficult task anyway."

Yermakovich has confirmed that former Barcelona winger Aleksandr Hleb will miss the game due to a knee injury, while Vitali Rodionov (knee), Maksim Zhavnerchik (foot) and Kaspars Dubra (hip) are also ruled out.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1