Levski Sofia vs Sutjeska Prediction, Preview, Lineups, H2H & Betting Tips
Levski Sofia kick-offs its European journey starting from round one of the 2017-18 UEFA Europa League when “The Blues” take on the Montenegrin Cup winner Sutjeska Niksic. First leg will be held at the “Vivacom Arena – Georgi Asparuhov” in Bulgarian capital Sofia, although one of the sectors (B) will be closed for spectators due to a suspension by UEFA.
H2H History: Levski Sofia vs Sutjeska This will be the first ever encounter between both clubs.
UEFA Europa League: Levski Sofia vs Sutjeska 29.06.2017
After another disappointing season and a dramatic Europa League playoff against Vereya, Levski returns in Europe seeking its first victory since almost five years. Last time Levski won an European fixture was in mid-July 2012 when “The Blues” defeated FK Sarajevo 1:0 in Sofia, however they lost the second leg (3:1) in Bosnia and thus have been eliminated. That devastating tie has been followed by a trophy drought on home soil, plus few more disappointing European performances, including last season’s elimination from Maribor – 0:0 in Slovenia, 1:1 in Sofia.
Sutjeska arrived in Sofia for a match where the Montenegrins are considered as huge underdogs by all bookies. Anyway, “The Blues” were the 2017 Montenegrin Cup winners less than a month ago, so Nikola Rakojevic’s men will have some confidence. That happened after a 1-0 success over Grbalj on 31 May and only four weeks later Sutjeska starts with the Europa League challenge.
They don’t have so wealthy European history as Levski but in the past few years Sutjeska had an opportunity to take part in both major continental competitions, twice as a champion of Montenegro in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Despite all games and the priceless Champions League experience, Sutjeska have never knocked out a club after their European debut in the 2003/04 Intertoto Cup, when they won 4:1 (3:0, 1:1) over Union Luxembourg. In following years Sutjeska was eliminated by teams like Tampere United, Partizan Minsk, Sheriff Tiraspol (twice in both Champions League attempts) and Debrecen, but Sutjeska won a match in its last European participation – winning 2-0 vs Debrecen at home. Well, Hungarians won the first leg 3-0 at home but they were close to suffer a huge setback in Montenegro.
Now the Montenegrin squad is keen to benefit from Levski’s renewal and “Blues” from Niksic will hope to earn something, or at least to lose with minimum difference in Sofia. Unfortunately head coach Nikola Rakojevic must pick his starting squad without few key players – goalkeeper Vladan Giljen is suspended, new signing Stefan Dankovic due to administrative issues, while attackers Igor Ivanovic and Bojan Bozovic are both injured.
On other hand we have hosts and favourites Levski but Nikolay Mitov’s squad is filled with many new signings, while some of the experienced players left the club. For example Bozhidar Kraev and Mehdi Bourabia were sold respectively to FC Midtjylland and Konyaspor, but that’s not all. Mitov can’t rely on other players who already have some experience including Aleksandar Aleksandrov (Cherno More), Jeremy de Nooijer (Sheriff Tiraspol), Veselin Minev (released), Anete (released), Georgi Kostadinov (Maccabi Haifa).
New names in the club are either inexperienced in European football or have recently signed with the team. In that number we find Serbian right-back Miloš Cvetkovic, who’s expected to start, as well as midfielder Vasil Panayotov (from Stal Mielec, Poland), Antonio Vutov (loaned from Udinese) and striker Junior Mapuku (Beroe). Another summer signing in face of Romanian forward Sergiu Bus will most likely remain on the bench but he can be an useful option if Levski struggles up front.
Meanwhile, expectations are that Mitov will start with African trio up front – Tunde Adeniji and Francis Narh will push through the wings, while Junior Mapuku should lead Levski’s attack. Antonio Vutov, who’s a product of Levski’s youth academy, is expected to start as an attacking midfielder behind Mapuku.
Levski Sofia vs Sutjeska Betting Tips and Prediction
Contrary to expectations on all bookmakers for an easy game and clear victory of Levski, we expect a tough game and not so many goals. It’s obvious that Sutjeska plans to defend deeply and we are not so sure how prepared Levski are for that type of game.
Under these circumstances our betting prediction suggests “Under 2.5 Goals” in the Europa League fixture between Levski Sofia and Sutjeska on Thursday night.
Venue: “Vivacom Arena – Georgi Asparuhov”, Sofia.
Referee: Martin Lundby.
Possible Lineups of Levski Sofia and Sutjeska
Levski Sofia: Bozhidar Mitrev – Milos Cvetkovic, David Jablonsky, Dimitar Pirgov, Ivan Goranov – Roman Prochazka, Vasil Panayotov – Tunde Adeniji, Antonio Vutov, Francis Narh – Junior Mapuku. (4-2-3-1)
FK Sutjeska Niksic: Suad Licina – Mirko Radisic, Milos Bakrac, Nikola Stijepovic, Marko Vucic – Stefan Loncar, Stevan Kovacevic – Dejan Zarubica, Milos Vucic, Veljko Vukovic – Bozo Markovic. (4-2-3-1)