Ludogorets vs FC Copenhagen
Competition: UEFA Europe League
Date: 16th February 2017
Kick-off: 19:00 CET
Ludogorets failed to secure placement in the Champions League knock-out stage, so as third placed in their group secured participation in Europe League. The Bulgarian outfit had tough opponents in Arsenal and PSG, but it managed to score two goals against both sides. Ludogorets are undefeated in their last 15 matches in all competitions. They won 4:0 against Montana in the domestic competition after almost two-months break. Ludogorets were efficient and scored at least one goal per match in the last ten matches. Coach Georgi Dermendzhiev is expected to play with the same starting formation which he used in the winter friendlies. Left-back Natanael Pimienta was rested in the last league match and is expected to return in the squad. Jonathan Cafu will possibly lead the attack in Dermendzhiev’s favorite 4-2-3-1 formation. Brazilian trio consisting of play-maker Marcelinho, winger Wanderson and striker Jonathan Cafu is expected to be the biggest threat for Copenhagen defensive line. All of them scored in the last match against Montana, Cafu and Wanderson both scored once, while Marcelinho has netted twice.
FC Copenhagen also failed to pass in next stage of the Champions League. They ended on the third position, behind Leicester City and Porto. FC Copenhagen suffered just one defeat in the group, but their nine points were not enough to qualify. Their last match in domestic competition was at the middle of December. During the winter transfer period they signed Uros Matic from Sturm Graz, a player that impressed in Austria. FC Copenhagen lost one of their key players as midfielder Thomas Delaney joined Werder Bremen. Coach Stale Solbakken can choose between Uros Matic and Jan Gregus for his position. Copenhagen is expected to play with the same 4-2-2 formation, with two attackers Andreas Cornelius and Federico Santander. However, the results in the preparation period weren’t at the desired level – four defeats in five games. The Danish side are struggling with efficiency and have scored only two goals.
Ludogorets vs FC Copenhagen: Head-to-head Stats
This will be the clubs’ first mutual match and Ludogorets’ first duel with Danish opponents. FC Copenhagen played four games against Bulgarian sides and their record is three victories and one defeat. Nevertheless, Ludogorets have some European experience in recent years – they eliminated Lazio in Europa League Round of 32 in 2013/14. FC Copenhagen have not featured in the spring phase of a European competition since losing to Chelsea in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League Round of 16.
Ludogorets vs FC Copenhagen: Prediction
Ludogorets made nice preparation, they played the most friendlies of all to get in contention for the Europa League clash. The Bulgarians have the home advantage in the first match and I believe they are closer to the victory. The departure of Thomas Delaney is another handicap for FC Copenhagen. They bought some new players, but I am sure they need time for acclimatization. Bookies offer 2.50 for home win and that’s acceptable. However, I will suggest a safer option, Ludogorets in Draw No Bet (1.80 ).
Ludogorets vs FC Copenhagen: Tips
Ludogorets to qualify is 2.25 . I am well aware that FC Copenhagen should not be underestimated, but I still believe Ludogorets are an experienced side capable of progressing here. Don’t forget they played 2:2 with PSG on road. FC Copenhagen haven’t returned from their winter break yet, meaning this is their first official match since the middle of December.