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May 16, 2020 at 5pm UK at City Stadium
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Preview: BATE Borisov vs. Slutsk - prediction, form guide, head-to-head record

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

Slutsk's Roman Krivulkin in action with Slavia-Mozyr's Igor Costrov in March 2020© Reuters

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.

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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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United StatesUnited States1010929
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Great BritainGreat Britain56415
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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