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Champions League Group F Preview: Vital clash for Valencia, Borisov

Valencia will be looking to overtake Group F leaders BATE Borisov when they host the Belarusian side at the Mestalla on Wednesday.

In what is the closest group in this year’s Champions League, Valencia are level on six points with both BATE and Bayern Munich but sit third on goal difference.

The Spanish side ended BATE’s perfect record after dispatching them 3-0 on matchday three in Minsk and will be confident of a similar result in the return fixture after an impressive 2-0 over a previously undefeated Atletico Madrid last Saturday in the Primera Liga.

Striker Roberto Soldado will be the man to watch at the Mestella, with the Spanish international scoring all three goals in the previous game in what was a masterful display of finishing.&lt
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BATE currently sit on top of the Belarusian Premier League after a great start to the season, however a recent 1-0 loss to struggling Naftan will be of concern to manager Viktor Goncharenko as his side prepare for what is one of the most important Champions League matches in their history.

The Belarusian side has never made it out of the group stage in the competition and anything less than a point from the game will make it difficult for them to progress.

Last year’s defeated finalists Bayern Munich will take on Lille at the Allianz Arena in the group’s other game.

The Germans have won 15 out of their last 16 European home games – their only loss being in the final against Chelsea last season – and will need to keep that record alive in order to continue their good start to this campaign.

Thomas Muller’s first half penalty was the difference between the two sides on matchday three in a game which saw the away side dominate at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole.

In an ominous sign for the French outfit, Jupp Heynckes’ men routed Hamburg 3-0 in the Bundesliga on the weekend in what was a brilliant display of attacking football.

Lille simply must win to stay alive in the competition after their failure to pick up a single point in their opening three matches sees them sit at the bottom of Group F.

They head into the game after a 2-0 away win over Evian in Ligue 1 and will be hoping for a similar performance against the Bavarians.

However, they will need to address their inability to score in this year’s Champions League, with Aurelien Chedjou the only player to find the back of the net so far, scoring against BATE on matchday one in his side’s 3-1 loss.

Tue 6 November, 2012
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