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Despite every other soccer league in Europe, North America, and Asia coming to a halt, the Belarus Premier League forges onward. This week, fans from up to four separate clubs have called for boycotts of the games in an attempt to support the players who are expressing a growing concern for their safety.
Whether it be out of fear of their communist government, or simply the love of the game, all teams have agreed to carry on, and so we will as well in search of back to back profitable weeks in Vvsshaya Liga.
Let’s take a look at a Saturday morning matchup I have my eye on.
BATE Borisov (-375) vs. Rukh Brest (+700), 10:30 AM EST (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Despite being one of the best franchises in the history of Belarusian soccer, BATE Borisov has struggled out of the gate this season. Just how impressive have they been in the past? Well, they’ve won the league 15 times, and that includes a 12 year run from 2006-2018. Through two games, BATE has two losses and a goal differential of -3 (2:5), putting them dead last in the league.
Having lost their first two games for the first time in franchise history, I expect BATE to play an angry brand of soccer Saturday morning with a focus on their offense.
In contrast, newcomer Rukh Brest is in its first season at the Premier League level after. Founded in 2016, the club won the second league in 2019, which earned them a promotion for 2020. In their first two games in Vvsshaya Liga, Brest has found relative success with a record of 1-1.
Brest’s opening season win against Dinamo Minsk was one of the biggest upsets of the young Vvsshaya season, as Dinamo is consistently one of the best teams in the league. A win in this one would solidify their place in the league, as they would’ve knocked two Belarusian soccer giants in just three weeks.
BATE is punching well below their caliber, and they’ve done little to prove that’s going to change. Through two weeks, their matches have seen a final average total of 3.5 goals scored, as their defense continues to be a major problem this season.
Having failed to find the win column while scoring just two goals on the season, I expect that their scoring urgency will give a young Brest squat plenty of chances.