MINSK, Belarus October 3 – Former Arsenal star Aleksandr Hleb has insisted BATE Borisov are keeping their feet firmly on the ground despite their shock 3-1 Champions League home win over last season’s finalists Bayern Munich.
The Belarus champions earned their second European win to go top of Group F with six points on Tuesday in Minsk after midfielder Aleksandr Pavlov, then striker Vitali Rodionov put them 2-0 up with 12 minutes left.
France wing Franck Ribery pulled back a 91st minute consolation goal back, but a brilliant Renan Bressan goal from a counter-attack, 10 minutes after he came off the bench, gave Viktor Goncharenko-coached BATE a deserved win.
The Bavarians suffered their first defeat in 10 games this season. It was also their first since losing the Champions League final at home to Chelsea on penalties in May.
“Bayern are still favourites in our group, we are taking it one match at a time,” said 31-year-old Hleb who played for Arsenal from 2005 until 2008.
“This is a sensational result for us, we will celebrate a bit but we need to keep working hard.”
With Holland wing Arjen Robben left back in Munich to recover from a thigh strain, Bayern squandered a great chance to take an early lead when midfielder Toni Kroos hit the post with only 13 minutes on the clock.
Defeat leaves Bayern with plenty to do if they are to emulate their run to last season’s final as they face a tough trip to France to face Lille on October 23, while BATE host Valencia the same night.
“I knew before the match that we were up against a very good team,” admitted Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes.
“They are very well organised especially in defence which they have proved so again.
“We hit the post and the bar too, so we had some bad luck, but you have to take the lead in these games.”
Bayern must now pick themselves up for Saturday’s Bundesliga match at home to Hoffenheim with Munich top of the German league.
“We missed the chance to take the lead and I think things would have been different if we had,” said Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who produced a string of good saves.
“BATE defended well and hit us with counterattacks.
“Of course it is disappointing to lose 3-1, but you cannot complain about the team’s efforts.”