MX23RW : Monday, October 25 03:56:55| >> :600:286828:286828:
Sep 30, 2021 at 8pm UK at Huvepharma Arena (Razgrad)
LudogoretsLudogorets Razgrad
0-1
Red StarRed Star Belgrade

Cicinho (52')
Cicinho (77')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Kanga (64')
Diony (13'), Ivanic (17'), Kanga (45+3'), Pavkov (66'), Stanic (81')

Preview: Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Red Star Belgrade - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Ludogorets Razgrad and Red Star Belgrade, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Ludogorets Razgrad will welcome Red Star Belgrade to Bulgaria on Thursday, in the second round of fixtures in the Europa League group stage.

The hosts began the campaign with a draw against Danish outfit FC Midtjylland, while their visitors picked up a 2-1 home victory over Braga.


Match preview

Ludogorets Razgrad's Kiril Despodov pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Ludogorets cruised to the Bulgarian top-flight title last season, bringing the trophy back to the Huvepharma Arena for the 10th straight term, although they did fail to impress on the continental stage, losing all six of their Europa League group games to crash out.

Nonetheless, their league triumph saw Valdas Dambrauskas's side earn a place in the Champions League qualifying phase, and they began with a 2-0 aggregate win over Belarusian champions Shakhtyor Soligorsk, before cruising past Mura thanks to a 3-1 win on home turf.

The Eagles then continued their impressive run by scraping past Greek giants Olympiacos after a penalty shootout but eventually fell at the final hurdle against Malmo, dropping into the Europa League group stage as a result.

They began the campaign with a trip to Denmark to take on FC Midtjylland, and left with a creditable point as Kiril Despodov drew them level on the half-hour mark after Gustav Isaksen's early opener.

Having most recently defeated Botev Vratsa 3-1 to strengthen their position at the summit of the top flight, they will look to continue building momentum by putting their first win of the group stage on the board on Thursday, but they face a tough test against a Red Star side who secured three points from their opening match.

Red Star Belgrade Radovan Pankov celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates in the Europa League on February 18, 2021© Reuters

The visitors topped the Serbian Superliga in style last season, winning 35 of their 38 games and drawing the other three to surpass the 100-points mark, and they earned entry into the Champions League Qualifiers as a result.

Dejan Stankovic's side overturned a one-goal deficit by thrashing Kairat 5-0 in the second leg of the second qualifying round, but they would then fall short against surprise package Sheriff Tiraspol, who continued their march towards the group stage with a 2-1 aggregate win.

That saw the Red-Whites enter the final qualifying round for the Europa League, and they booked their spot in the group stage in style, thrashing CFR Cluj 6-1 over two legs, before toppling Portuguese outfit Braga in the opening match.

Their clash with Carlos Carvalhal's men remained goalless for 75 minutes, until Milan Rodic put Red Star ahead and Galeno immediately drew the visitors level, before Aleksandar Katai converted a decisive penalty with five minutes to go.

Having since drawn with title rivals Partizan and thrashed Novi Pazar in league action, Stankovic's side will be keen to continue their impressive run and make it two wins from two to give their qualification hopes a further boost.

Ludogorets Razgrad Europa League form:
  • D

Ludogorets Razgrad form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W

Red Star Belgrade Europa League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W

Red Star Belgrade form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W



Team News

Red Star Belgrade's Guelor Kanga celebrates with teammates after scoring against Gent on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Ludogorets are expected to remain without Cauly and Wanderson, as both have recently missed out through injuries.

Kiril Despodov will again feature heavily in the front line, after hitting their equaliser against Midtjylland in the group opener.

Forward Pieros Sotiriou will hope to break into the starting XI after hitting a brace in the recent league victory over Botev Vratsa, having only featured off the bench in the trip to Denmark.

After an impressive result against Braga, Red Star are unlikely to make major changes to their side, with Milan Pavkov remaining the only absentee through injury.

Aleksandar Katai will continue to play a key role going forward, having scored the winning goal in the win over Braga.

The winger has now found the net in eight consecutive matches across all competitions, and, while he will play wide of a central striker, the majority of their attacking play will run through the Serbian.

Ludogorets Razgrad possible starting lineup:
Kahlina; Cicinho, Plastun, Sa, Nedyalkov; Santana, Goncalves, Badji; Tekpetey, Sotiriou, Despodov

Red Star Belgrade possible starting lineup:
Borjan; Gobeljic, Dejenek, Dragovic, Rodic; Sanogo, Ivanic; El Fardou Ben, Kanga, Katai; Zivkovic


SM words green background

We say: Ludogorets Razgrad 1-1 Red Star Belgrade

While the visitors were arguably more impressive in the opening game of the group stage, we put these sides on a relatively level playing field, and struggle to choose a winner.

With home advantage, the Bulgarian side should have enough to hold their free-scoring visitors to a draw that will likely be fairly pleasing to both teams.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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How you voted: Ludogorets vs Red Star

Ludogorets Razgrad
37.4%
Draw
28.6%
Red Star Belgrade
34.1%
91
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