Our prediction for this Europa League match:
A place in the Europa League group stages will be at stake when Astana and BATE face each other at Astana Arena on Thursday evening. The Kazaks rolled over Valletta 9-1 (on agg.) to set up a meeting with BATE, but the Belarusian champions will pose a much bigger threat for the hosts than their previous rivals. The two teams met in the Europa League play-offs in the 2016/2017 season, with Astana emerging triumphant.
BATE are eager to get their revenge on the Kazakhstan champions and we are positive that the visitors are going to leave their hearts on the field. The two teams seem to be evenly matched at the moment, therefore, we believe that there is a big value in betting on draw. It has to be noted that BATE played out a goalless draw with Sarajevo in their last Europa League qualifying match.
Highlighted Player (Dmitri Shomko):
Born in Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan on March 19, 1990 Dmitri Andreievich Shomko is a defender who plays for Astana. Shomko is a product of his home-town club Ekibastuzets, but he started his senior career at Batyr Ekibastuz.
As expected, the 182-cm tall footballer returned to his boyhood club and it has to be noted that he made nine appearances in the league for Ekibastuzets. Dmitri Shomko then moved to Irtysh Pavlodar and he played for the Kazak club from 2009 to 2014. In 2011 he was sent on loan to Astana and three years later he signed a permanent deal with the Blue and Yellows. His main position is left-back, but he is used as a left midfielder as well.
Over the years Shomko has established himself as a first-team regular at Kazakhstan national football team and he made his debut for the Hawks on February 2, 2011 in a 1-1 draw with Belarus. Shomko came as a substitute for Nurgaliev in the 85th minute of the match. He has 17 caps for the U21 team as well.
Highlighted Team (BATE Borisov):
Bate Borisov are a Belarusian club based in Borisov. BATE is an acronym of Borisov Automobile and Tractor Electronics and it has to be noted that club was founded in 1973. One year later BATE Borisov wan Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic title and they won two more trophies in the competition (1976, 1979) before being disbanded in 1984.
In 1996 the club was re-established and they have been dominating the Belarusian Premier League ever since. The Belarusian giants won their 13th domestic trophy in the post-Soviet era in 2016, with the team finishing the season 11 points clear of second-placed Shakhtyor Soligorsk. BATE Borisov qualified for the Champions League group stages for the first time in the 2008/2009 season, but they failed to make it to the knockout stages of the elite competition.
A number of top-class footballers played for the club in the past and the likes of Alexander Hleb, Vitali Kutuzov and Yuri Zhevnon should be mentioned. BATE play their home games in blue shirts and blue shorts, while they wear yellow when playing on the road.