Braga vs Ludogorets Prediction, Preview, Lineups, H2H & Betting Tips
Braga vs Ludogorets prediction for Thursday night’s UEFA Europa League encounter at the “Estádio Municipal de Braga”. Braga aims to a third consecutive Group C victory when the Portuguese side takes on Ludogorets Razgrad in matchday three of the UEFA Europa League group stage. Bulgarian champions are unbeaten as well and have their chances to find themselves on top of the group if they win in Braga. Read more in our detailed match preview, free betting tips and predictions.
H2H History: Braga vs Ludogorets Razgrad
Braga and Ludogorets Razgrad will meet for the very first time. Neither has previously played a team from their opponents’ home country.
The overall H2H record is firmly backing the Portuguese sides who were winners in 9 out of 16 competitive fixtures, while Bulgarian teams have won just 2 of them. However, Ludogorets are keen to become the first Bulgarian club to win a competitive UEFA match in Portugal after seven defeats and one draw only.
UEFA Europa League: Braga vs Ludogorets Razgrad 19.10.2017
Undefeated in six European outings this season, Braga are on a five-game winning streak (one in extra time) in the UEFA Europa League. Their European quest began from the third qualifying round when after two 1:1 draws in regular time Braga had to score a late winner against Swedish AIK. In the playoffs “The Archbishops” eliminated FH (winning 1:2 in Iceland and 3:2 in Portugal) and thus deserved their position in the group phase draw. Abel Ferreira’s men have been drawn in one of the toughest groups where except Ludogorets, Braga must face Hoffenheim and Istanbul Basaksehir. Well, the first two games were extremely successful and Braga won 2:1 in both occasions – beating Hoffenheim in Germany and Istanbul Basaksehir at home turf.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese show improvement on the domestic stage where Braga won its last three league games and moved to the fifth position, where they were at the end of season 2016-17, currently having two points less from a third-placed Benfica.
“The Eagles” from Razgrad fly to Braga powered by six consecutive wins in all competitions, including a 2:1 win vs Hoffenheim last round. All these victories came after an opening Europa League round, a goalless draw in Istanbul, which hints for a certain progress under Dimitar Dimitrov’s leadership. Dimitar “Hero” Dimitrov replaced former coach Georgi Dermendzhiev after an unsuccessful Champions League qualification, followed by a defeat from Botev Plovdiv in the Bulgarian Super Cup match. This virtually remains the last defeat of Ludogorets (losing on penalties) and since then they have 10 wins and 4 draws on all fronts. The most recent victory was on Saturday night when Ludogorets won 0:1 in Varna (vs Cherno More), in a match where players were far from their optimal efforts but eventually won. This leaves Ludogorets on peak of the Bulgarian First League standings and they can travel to Portugal with some extra confidence.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Right prior the international break Braga achieved their greatest success for almost three years by winning 6:0 vs Estoril. That was the last match where Abel Ferreira used most of his key players as the 2:3 win vs AR São Martinho last weekend was accomplished by some backup players, who had their chance to prove in a Portuguese Cup round. Now Braga’s coach will have a completely different approach and we should expect a strong lineup, since “The Archbishops” have really balanced squad in all fields.
Nevertheless, Abel Ferreira has some injury concerns as Marafona, Nuno Sequeira, Lazar Rosic, Marko Bakic and Wilson Eduardo are all injured. Striker Dyego Sousa, who scored a brace vs São Martinho, remains a doubt.
Ludogorets took the flight to Portugal with a 18-men group, without injured midfielder Gustavo Campanharo who started vs Hoffenheim. Goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov continues his recovery from a long-term injury, while Dutch winger Virgil Misidjan has been left out once again since he rejects to sign a new deal and already missed a few games as a result.
Expectations are that Dimitar Dimitrov will feature the same team used vs Hoffenheim and since Campanharo is injured, Jacek Goralski is the one who is likely to start in midfield alongside captain Svetoslav Dyakov. Of course, Dyakov and Anicet can be the central midfield duo, and Marcelinho can take his regular position behind the striker, if Dimitrov starts with Romanian striker Claudiu Keseru up front, but he used either Marcelinho or João Paulo in previous two Europa League rounds. Anyway, Ludogorets will be more cautious compared to the home game vs Hoffenheim and we expect same counter-attacking approach as in their visit to Istanbul Basaksehir.
Braga vs Ludogorets Razgrad Prediction and Betting Tips
Like we already mentioned Braga remain undefeated after six European games in current campaign, but it’s interesting to note that they have conceded at least once in each of them and also in their last 18 Europa League matches. Last time when Braga have kept a clean sheet was in a goalless draw vs Groningen back in the 2015-16 group stage.
On the other hand Ludogorets hopes to take advantage from these circumstances and can surely benefit from its continental experience gained in the past few seasons. With players in-form like Wanderson, Marcelinho and Jody Lukoki, we sincerely believe that Ludogorets will create some scoring chances and might score at least one of them in Braga’s net. Same goes for the hosts who are in a superb form and will try to break the not so-stable defensive line of Ludogorets.
Our betting prediction goes on the goal scoring markets – “Both teams to score – Yes“.
Possible Lineups of Braga and Ludogorets Razgrad
Venue: “Estádio Municipal de Braga”, Braga.
Referee: Davide Massa from Italy.
SC Braga: Matheus – Marcelo Goiano, Ricardo Ferreira, Raul Silva, Ricardo Esgaio – Fabio Martins, Nikola Vukcevic, Danilo Barbosa, Bruno Xadas – Paulinho, Ahmed Hassan. (4-4-2)
PFC Ludogorets Razgrad: Jorge Broun – Cicinho, Igor Plastun, Cosmin Moti, Natanael – Anicet, Svetoslav Dyakov – Jody Lukoki, Marcelinho, Wanderson – Claudiu Keseru. (4-2-3-1)