Ludogorets vs Hoffenheim Prediction, H2H, Preview & Betting Tips
Ludogorets vs Hoffenheim prediction for Thursday’s UEFA Europa League Group C fixture in Razgrad. Ludogorets hosts to the Bundesliga surprise Hoffenheim in the second Europa League group stage round on Thursday, 28 September 2017. Both sides have failed to win their opening games and if Ludogorets can be pleased by a draw in Istanbul, Hoffenheim travels with the bitter taste from its home loss to Sporting Braga. Read more details in our match preview, free betting tips and predictions.
H2H History: Ludogorets vs Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim makes its European debut this season so logically that’s the first ever meeting between both clubs. Also, this is the first time Ludogorets have come up against German opposition in any UEFA competition.
UEFA Europa League: Ludogorets vs Hoffenheim 28.09.2017
Hoffenheim are looking to carry over their Bundesliga progress into their UEFA Europa League campaign when a trip to Bulgaria comes on schedule. Bulgarian champion Ludogorets is the next challenge for Julian Nagelsmann’s men who have lost all their European games so far, starting from the Champions League playoffs where they lost twice to Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Drawing the short straw in the Champions League qualifiers has been followed by a similar destiny in the Europa League, as Hoffenheim finds itself next to teams like Braga, ambitious Istanbul Basaksehir and Ludogorets Razgrad, who gained serious European experience in the past few years.
Hoffenheim feels irresistible in the Bundesliga, dispelling all speculations they would struggle without two of the key-players who have both joined Bayern Munich – Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy. Die Kraichgauer is second in the Bundesliga with an undefeated record, thanks to a 2:0 win over Schalke 04, preceded by a remarkable comeback (2:0 to 2:3) vs Mainz 05 in the midweek round. Moreover, these two wins have been preceded by another one, even more significant – 2:0 vs Bayern Munich early in September, although Hoffenheim lost against Braga only couple of days later.
Walking through an unsuccessful Champions League path as of their German opponent, Ludogorets must find consolation in the Europa League. Bulgarian champions were eliminated by Hapoel Be’er Sheva and had to deserve their Europa League positioning after a two-legged playoff against Lithuanian Suduva. In the meantime, Georgi Dermendzhiev was dismissed from duty and Dimitar Dimitrov (Hero) was the chosen one who must transform Ludogorets. First of all “Eagles from Razgrad” must defend their domestic trophy, as well as to claim one of the top-two Group C positions which will secure them European football in winter months of 2018.
Since his appointment in August, right after the lost Bulgarian Super Cup game, Dimitar Dimitrov remains unbeaten and despite some disappointing domestic league draws Ludogorets shows signs of progress. Everyone in Razgrad were content with the draw in Istanbul where Ludogorets missed some chances to score and respectively to travel back with the whole set of points. Nevertheless, a big night is coming since this will be the first ever group stage game that will take place in Razgrad, as thus far Ludogorets had to play all European home matches in Sofia, with a few exceptions in early qualifying rounds.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Ludogorets have kept three clean sheets before conceding three games in a row, all of them last week. However, “The Eagles” won them all and last one was on Sunday night when they made a full comeback from 1:0 (on HT) to 1:4 vs Septemvri Sofia. Thus Ludogorets remains on one-point behind CSKA Sofia, who are topping the Bulgarian First League table after 10 rounds.
Dimitar Dimitrov is expected to name the same squad he used in Sofia last weekend, as the Argentine Jorge Broun will replace Brazilian Renan under the sticks, while Jody Lukoki (who scored twice) will most likely keep his position on the right wing.
Best news for the home side, apart from their ability to finally host a group game in Razgrad, are related with Marcelinho’s name. Brazilian playmaker served his three-game suspension (he was sent-off during second leg vs Hapoel) and will undoubtedly be brought back to the battlefield. Marcelinho is the most important player for Ludogorets and his presence on the field will be a huge boost for the whole squad.
Hoffenheim landed in Varna, nearest airport to Razgrad, without few first-team players who were left out in Germany. Nadiem Amiri, who picked up an injury against Schalke, failed to recover on time and joins the injury list. Defender Ermin Bicakcic, midfielder Kerem Demirbay and strikers, Sandro Wagner, Adam Szalai were already part of that list, so Julian Nagelsmann will surely make some rotations in the starting lineup. Austrian Florian Grillitsch and local youngster Dennis Geiger are competing for a starting position in midfield, where Nagelsmann can make some other changes. The youngest ever Bundesliga manager likes to rotate the squad anyway, and his non traditional behaviour is the reason why Hoffenheim does so well for the past year.
Ludogorets vs Hoffenheim Prediction and Betting Tips
Ludogorets Razgrad has proved its worth internationally and even if “The Eagles” don’t seem to be strong as they were one year ago, when they were in the Champions League, they still hold enough potential to be a serious threat, especially at home.
Expectations are over Hoffenheim who are considered for favourites and are also representatives of the more reputable league here. This may add some extra pressure to the team, who must also chase their first ever point in European football. Losing to Braga was a huge blow and Hoffenheim will be more cautious this time.
Our betting prediction is backing the hosts as we believe they won’t lose their first ever group stage fixture in Razgrad – Asian Handicap +0.5 (Double Chance) on Ludogorets.
Possible Lineups of Ludogorets and Hoffenheim
Venue: “Ludogorets Arena”, Razgrad.
Referee: Paweł Raczkowski from Poland.
PFC Ludogorets Razgrad: Jorge Broun – Cicinho, Cosmin Moti, Igor Plastun, Natanael – Anicet, Svetoslav Dyakov – Jody Lukoki, Marcelinho, Wanderson – Claudiu Keseru. (4-2-3-1)
Missing players – Vladislav Stoyanov.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: Oliver Baumann – Justin Hoogma, Kevin Vogt, Havard Nordtveit – Eugen Polanski – Pavel Kaderabek, Lukas Rupp, Dennis Geiger, Steven Zuber – Andrej Kramaric, Mark Uth. (3-1-4-2)
Missing players – Ermin Bicakcic, Florian Grillitsch, Nadiem Amiri, Kerem Demirbay, Robert Zulj, Sandro Wanger. Benjamin Hübner and Serge Gnabry are both doubtful.