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Jul 28, 2021 at 7pm UK
LudogoretsLudogorets Razgrad
3-1
NS MuraNS Mura
Soteriou (4'), Manu (82'), Oliveira Souza (90')
Tekpetey (35'), Despodov (50'), Oliveira Souza (90+1')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Horvat (64')

Preview: Ludogorets Razgrad vs. NS Mura - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Ludogorets Razgrad vs. NS Mura - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Ludogorets Razgrad and NS Mura, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Slovenian minnows NS Mura will be hoping to cause an upset and progress from the second qualifying round of the Champions League when they travel to Ludogorets Razgrad for their second-leg tie on Wednesday night.

The Bulgarian champions will be the favourites to advance to the third qualifying round, where a clash against either Olympiacos or Neftchi Baku awaits next month.


Match preview

Ludogorets head coach Valdas Dambrauskas will be feeling slightly disappointed that his side did not come away with at least one goal from the first leg, following a goalless draw last week.

Despite dominating the game with 70% possession and 14 attempts on goal, the Eagles were frustrated in Slovenia by a resilient Mura outfit, and now head back home to the Huvepharma Arena needing a victory to progress.

Ludogorets head into the 2021-22 campaign after winning their 10th successive Bulgarian top-flight title last season, finishing nine points clear of their nearest rivals Lokomotiv Plovdiv. Their title defence began last weekend when they beat Plovdiv 3-1 away from home in their opening game.

Dambrauskas – who studied at London Metropolitan University before working as a coach at academies including Manchester United, Brentford and Fulham – now turns his attention to the second leg on Wednesday, as the Eagles aim to qualify for the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2016-17 and for just the third time in their history.

NS Mura, meanwhile, have never qualified for a major European tournament before, but last week's stalemate has given them a fighting chance of reaching the next round.

After experiencing severe financial difficulties which led to the club dissolving in 2012, the Slovenian side has since reformed and won their first ever top-flight title last season in dramatic fashion.

The Carno-bejli beat their nearest challengers Maribor 3-1 on the final day of the season and because they had a better head-to-head record, they pipped the 15-time champions to the summit.

This success ensured Mura also claimed a spot in the opening rounds for Champions League qualification, with Ante Simundza's team cruising to a 6-0 aggregate win in their first-round tie against North Macedonian side Shkendija earlier this month.

Mura's domestic title defence, however, has got off to the worst possible start, as they have lost their first two games to teams who finished in the bottom half of the table last season. They suffered a shock 3-0 home defeat in their opening match against Tabor Sezana, before losing 3-2 away at Koper last weekend.

Simundza's side presumably had one eye on Wednesday's second-leg encounter with Ludogorets, but despite their early domestic wobble, Mura can take confidence from last week's first leg, knowing that a score draw would be enough to send them through on away goals.

Ludogorets Razgrad Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • D

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

NS Mura Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • D

NS Mura form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L


Team News

Ludogorets have used a 4-3-3 formation for each of their three Champions League qualifiers and are likely to adopt the same system on Wednesday.

Dambrauskas may also be tempted to name the same starting lineup, which would see Dominik Yankov and Kiril Despodov support central striker Pieros Sotiriou in attack.

Ghanaian pair Bernard Tekpetey and Elvis Manu both scored in the league victory against Plovdiv last weekend and will hoping that they can force their way into the first XI.

As for Mura, they are also unlikely to make too many changes to their starting lineup, with midfielders Ziga Kous, Luka Bobicanec and Nino Kouter – who all scored in the 5-0 thrashing of Shkendija in the last round – set to start once again.

Striker Mihael Klepac, who also scored twice in this match, is expected to feature up front and could be joined in attack by 20-year-old forward Kai Cipot, who has found the net twice in his opening two league games this campaign.

Ludogorets Razgrad possible starting lineup:
Kahlina; Ikoko, Plastun, Verdon, Nedyalkov; Goncalves, Santana, Souza; Yankov, Sotiriou, Despodov

NS Mura possible starting lineup:
Obradovic; Kamicnic, Marusko, Gorenc; Kous, Horvat, Bobicanec, Kouter, Sturm; Cipot, Klepac


We say: Ludogorets Razgrad 1-0 NS Mura (1-0 on aggregate)

Despite playing out a goalless draw in the first leg, both sides did look threatening in the final third and will want to cause more problems on Wednesday.

Ludogorets, who are strong favourites for this clash, have won four of their last five home matches without conceding a goal, and we feel that another win without reply could be on the cards at the Huvepharma Arena.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data



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