Dean Mouhtaropoulos - Getty Images
If BATE Borisov can hold their own against Bayern Munich on Tuesday, they'll establish themselves as a legitimate contender for a knockout stage place.
BATE Borisov are probably going to lose to Bayern Munich on Tuesday, and that's okay. Bayern are in ridiculous form and appear to be one of the main contenders for the Champions League title. However, BATE are hardly whipping boys, and have the talent to give Bayern a serious test. During the Belarusian side's first trip to the Champions League, anyone suggesting that they might avoid embarrassment at the hands of Bayern would have been laughed at.
Renan Bressan provides a legitimate challenge for the Bayern midfield, and it's not like his teammates are lacking in big-game experience against top opposition. BATE are coming off of a 3-1 win over Lille and a 5-1 win at the weekend, so they'll come into Tuesday's match believing that they actually are a good match for Bayern.
Of course, Bayern Munich are also in brilliant form and have the much better team. Mario Mandzukic might be the signing of the season in Europe while Thomas Müller has re-discovered his form and the signings of Dante and Javi Martinez have given Bayern fantastic depth at all positions on the pitch. They can dominate a game from the start, but they also have the bench options to change any game.
Ultimately, their talent should overcome BATE, but if it's still 0-0 after 30 minutes -- or if the unthinkable happens and BATE go up quickly -- this match could turn into an excellent one.
BATE Borisov injuries and suspensions
Bayern Munich injuries and suspensions
Out: Arjen Robben (groin), David Alaba (foot), Mario Gomez (ankle)
Bayern Munich are dealing with the same injuries they've had to deal with all season. Luckily for them, they haven't missed any of Robben, Alaba or Gomez too much. BATE have a full-strength team at their disposal. Aleksandar Hleb was rested at the weekend, and should return to the lineup against Bayern.
Match Date/Time: 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Dynama Stadium, Minsk, Belarus
TV: DirecTV soccer (U.S.), Sky Sports red button (U.K.), Sportsnet One (Canada)
Online: FOX Soccer 2 Go (U.S.)