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Preview: BATE Borisov vs. Slutsk - prediction, form guide, head-to-head record

:Headline: Preview: BATE Borisov vs. Slutsk - prediction, form guide, head-to-head record: ID:399389: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Belarusian top-flight clash between BATE Borisov and Slutsk, including predictions, form guide and head-to-head records.

Arguably the pick of the action in the latest round of the Belarusian Premier League will take place at the Borisov Arena on Saturday as BATE Borisov welcome Slutsk.

The pair are currently first and second respectively after eight matches, although there is every chance that the picture could be a lot different by the time that they take to the field for kickoff.

Match preview

As mentioned, BATE currently lead the division with 16 points from their first eight matches of the 2020 season, while Slutsk are second on the same number of points but a worse goal difference.

There is incredibly only three points between the top six teams at this stage, and Torpedo-BelAZ will have the chance to move to the summit when they take to the field against Gorodeya on Friday.

BATE actually lost their first two league matches of the season against Energetik-BGU and Slavia but have responded in impressive fashion, winning five of their last six, remaining unbeaten in the process.

Indeed, since drawing 0-0 with Torpedo on April 18, BATE have beaten Gorodeya, Neman and Smolevichi, scoring 10 times in the process during an impressive run of form.

Kirill Alshevsky's side have also qualified for the final of the Belarusian Cup and will take on Dinamo Brest for the trophy on May 24, four days after facing the same opponents in the league.

BATE had actually landed 13 straight titles before finishing second to Brest last season; they collected 70 points from their 30 league games last term but ended five points off the summit, and there is no question that the Belarusian giants will be desperate to reclaim the championship this year.

Slutsk, meanwhile, have made a very encouraging start to the campaign, posting an identical record to BATE in terms of wins, draws and defeats to sit second in the table heading into week nine.

Vitaliy Pavlov's side picked up three straight wins against Shakhtyor Soligorsk, Belshina and Dinamo Minsk between April 17 and May 2, but they suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Energetik-BGU last weekend.

It will be fascinating to see how the Blue and Whites bounce back from the setback, particularly as they are not used to being at the top end of the Belarusian Premier League.

Indeed, Slutsk were actually a third-tier side as recently as 2010, while they have not finished higher than eighth since earning promotion to the top level six years ago.

BATE form (Belarusian Premier League): WWDWWW

Slutsk form (Belarusian Premier League): WDWWWL

Head To Head

BATE's record against Slutsk is incredibly strong, winning 14 of their last 15 matches in all competitions.

Slutsk's only victory during that run came in May 2017, and BATE have won each of their last five meetings, scoring 16 times and conceding just once in the process.

The corresponding match last season ended in a 3-0 home success, with Maksim Skavysh and Bojan Dubajic both on the scoresheet for the 15-time Belarusian champions.

We say: BATE 2-0 Slutsk

Slutsk deserve a lot of praise for their start to the campaign, but BATE will be confident of continuing their impressive form this weekend. We are finding it difficult to back against the hosts and have therefore tipped a routine 2-0 success for Alshevsky's side.

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1Shakhtyor SoligorskSoligorsk1010002451930
2BATE BorisovBATE1072120101023
3Dinamo Minsk106221661020
5Rukh BrestRukh Brest105321811718
6Dinamo BrestDinamo Brest10451114717
9FC MinskFC Minsk103431515013
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