Q: What’s happened so far?
Surprisingly, the big names are struggling. BATE Borisov, 15-time champions and Champions League regulars are winless as are traditional power Dinamo Minsk. Last year’s champion Dinamo Brest sit in fifth, with one win and one loss. Five teams are yet to register a win, four – including BATE – are yet to score a point.
Interestingly, three Minsk teams occupy the top three spots, with FC Minsk the table topper after a 3-2 win over crosstown rivals Dinamo. Fresh off that Minsk derby, it’s another intra-city clash with FC Minsk facing off against Energetik-BGU Minsk, a battle of the two highest-scoring teams of the first two weeks.
Q: Is this the week that BATE Borisov gets untracked?
You would hope so, but that’s what we thought last week when we put them into our suggested 3-leg multi. The best-known club in Belarus has dropped its first two matches and has given up a league-high six goals. First year manager Kirill Alshevsky is surely under the pump and they are in desperate need of a win against Ruh Brest. Keep in mind, BATE’s first two losses were on the road – this is a home game where the club has won 22 of its last 25 league matches.
Q: Who wins the Bottom of the Table Clash?
Winless Belshina Bobruisk and Gorodeya have scored just one goal between them, so what gives this weekend when they meet at Spartak Stadium? Belshina is a newly promoted club, so they haven’t played Gorodeya since 2016 (a 1-1 draw and a 2-0 Gorodeya win). Gorodeya have failed to score in four of their last five matches and Under 2.5 goals has hit in five of their last six, so expect a low scoring affair with a potential Belshina win on the cards.
Q: Who’s scoring all the goals?
There are five players who have scored two goals each on the season:
–Djasur Yakshibaev of Energetik, an Uzbek U23 player who played against the Olyroos, scored a brace in the opening week win over BATE.
–Nikita Melinkov is a young Russian player, who also scored twice against BATE; they were his first two goals for Slavia Mozyr.
-Artyom Serdyuk is another Russian who scored twice in Slutsk’s opening win.
–Uladzimir Khvashchynski, who is on loan from Shahktyor Soligorsk, scored in both of FC Minsk’s two victories.
–Momo Yasane, from the African nation of Guinea, is on loan from Rabat in Morocco and scored 11 goals in 28 appearances for Isloch last season.
Q: What else can you tell me?
Slavia Mozyr beat BATE Borisov last week. In doing my research I discovered that Mozyr is where the Druzhba pipeline – the longest oil pipeline in the world – splits in two. One branch carries crude oil to Poland, the other to Ukraine. Feel free to use that fact in your next Zoom meeting.