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Preview: Steaua v Ludogorets

FC Steaua Bucureşti and PFC Ludogorets Razgrad have changed coaches since last season but both know what to expect on Tuesday: a test of their group stage ambitions.

Claudiu Keșerü had a spectacular weekend
Claudiu Keșerü had a spectacular weekend ©Ilya Tarasenko

Constantin Gâlcă preparing Steaua for his "most important" game as a coach
Steaua are nine games unbeaten in 2014/15 and already clear in Romania
Claudiu Keșerü scored all six for the Bucharest side on Friday
Cristian Tănase is out but Georgi Dermendzhiev says Steaua have players to replace him
Eight games undefeated, Ludogorets beat FK Partizan in the last round

Possible lineups
Steaua: Arlauskis; Râpă, Szukała, Varela, Latovlevici; Prepeliță, Sânmărtean; Popa, Stanciu, Pîrvulescu; Chipciu.
• Out: Tănase (groin)

Ludogorets: Stoyanov; Caiçara, Terziev, Moți, Minev; Misidjan, Dyakov, Espinho, Aleksandrov; Marcelinho; Bezjak/Hamza Younes.
• Out: none

Constantin Gâlcă, Steaua coach
Our opponents are a good team, with talented and technical players, but if we play with aggression we will control the game and score goals – that means more then one. I hope that this first leg takes us a long way towards qualification. Members of our coaching staff have attended the last three Ludogorets games so I was not surprised by their tactics for the last game, the one I attended.

I hope there will be many important games in my coaching career, but up to now I can say this one against Ludogorets is the most important. I hope the stadium will be full here and in Sofia too. Our fans help us to win whenever they fill the stands

Many players have left our club lately, but without them we have reached the play-offs and I believe we will qualify for the group stage. It was hard at first, but all the players slowly became accustomed to my methods and my demand and that's obvious when you see how we are playing now and the results we are getting.

Dermendzhiev after the Partizan win
Dermendzhiev after the Partizan win©Meridian Match

Georgi Dermendzhiev, Ludogorets coach
It's an advantage for both teams having new coaches. As always when a new coach is appointed, everybody is trying to do their best. Steaua are a great club. They have played in the UEFA Champions League group stage eight times and they won [the European Cup] once.

We know Steaua and we know that Steaua know us. We know who left the club and who came in. I don't feel any pressure. We are a good side and we are not afraid of the [Steaua] fans or of our opponents. Our objective is to reach the group stage.

Ludogorets have progressed a lot since last season. We have more nous now. I don't think the absence of Cristian Tănase is necessarily good for us: Steaua have plenty of players who can replace him.

Weekend results
Steaua 6-0 CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu(Keșerü 23 26pen 34 64 82 86)
Ludogorets 2-0 PFC CSKA Sofia (Misidjan 30, Younés 52)

Form guide (all competitions)
Steaua: WWWWDW
Ludogorets: WWWDWD

Match facts
• When did Steaua last lose a qualifying round or play-off tie in UEFA competition? How many UEFA Champions League group stages have they been in? Find out in our extensive match background.