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Buoyant Ludogorets await PSV rematch

Fans in Bulgaria will be hoping for a repeat performance as PFC Ludogorets Razgrad take on their main rivals for top spot in Group B, PSV Eindhoven, on matchday five.

Roman Bezjak celebrates scoring Ludogorets' opener against PSV on matchday one
Roman Bezjak celebrates scoring Ludogorets' opener against PSV on matchday one ©AFP/Getty Images

PFC Ludogorets Razgrad are already sure to be playing in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 and will look to secure a repeat of their famous matchday one win when PSV Eindhoven come to Sofia in Group B.

• Ludogorets are certain to take one of the top two spots in the section, and PSV's place will be secure if they can extend their three-point lead over third-placed FC Chornomorets Odesa ahead of their matchday six encounter.

Previous meetings
• Ludogorets caused a major stir when the sides met for the first time on matchday one, with goals from Roman Bezjak (60) and Virgil Misidjan (74) securing a shock 2-0 win in Eindhoven. It was the Bulgarian club's biggest European away win to date and matched PSV's two previous worst home losses in this competition: to ACF Fiorentina in the 2007/08 quarter-finals and to Dundee United FC in the 1982/83 first round.

• That game was Ludogorets' first encounter with Dutch opposition.

• PSV have played five games against Bulgarian selections with the record W3 D1 L1 (W1 D1 L1 at home – W2 D0 L0 in Bulgaria). They won 1-0 on both of their previous visits to Bulgaria and had not conceded a goal against a Bulgarian team ahead of matchday one.

Match background
• Ludogorets are one of eight sides who made it to the round of 32 on matchday four, including fellow UEFA Europa League debutants Esbjerg fB and ACF Fiorentina.

• Ludogorets are making their maiden appearance in a UEFA competition group stage in what is only their second European campaign. They were promoted to the Bulgarian top flight for the first time at the end of the 2010/11 season.

• Ludogorets are unbeaten in four Group B games and only conceded their first goal in the section on matchday four, when Chornomorets struck back to earn a 1-1 draw in Sofia.

• PSV are the only side to have competed in every edition of the UEFA Europa League group stage since the competition's inception in 2009/10, missing out on the round of 32 for the first time last season when they finished behind FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and SSC Napoli in Group F. This will be their 41st UEFA Europa League game – more than any other side in the competition – and they are also the competition's top scorers with 64 goals.

Team facts
• PSV's Swedish international Ola Toivonen joined Eduardo Salvio at the top of the UEFA Europa League all-time player appearance listings on matchday four, making his 34th outing in the 2-0 win against GNK Dinamo Zagreb and celebrating the landmark by scoring the second of his team's goals.

• Ludogorets are one of nine domestic champions competing in this season's group stage along with NK Maribor (Slovenia), FC Sheriff (Moldova), Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (Israel), Legia Warszawa (Poland), FC Shakhter Karagandy (Kazakhstan), APOEL FC (Cyprus), GNK Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and IF Elfsborg (Sweden).

• PSV (1978) are one of five clubs in this season's group stage to have won this competition before along with Valencia CF (2004), Eintracht Frankfurt (1980) and two-time winners Sevilla FC (2006, 2007) and Tottenham Hotspur FC (1972, 1984). PSV are the only side involved to have also won the European Champion Clubs' Cup, in 1988.

• PSV boast Bulgarian talent in the form of defender Stanislav Manolev, who made his name with PFC Litex Lovech before heading for the Netherlands in 2009. He has won domestic cups in both countries; Bulgaria in 2008 and 2009 and the Netherlands in 2012, but has yet to feature in this season's group stage.

• Dutch winger Virgil Misidjan joined Ludogorets from Willem II in the summer.

Coach information
• Brought in to replace Ivaylo Petev as Ludogorets coach in July, Stoycho Stoev was a stylish forward with PFC Lokomotiv Sofia in the 1980s, though he maintained a European outlook and classed Arrigo Sacchi as his coaching idol. After taking charge of a number of smaller Bulgarian clubs, the cool-headed coach led champions Ludogorets – his local side – to their first UEFA Europa League group stage campaign after defeat by FC Basel 1893 in the UEFA Champions League play-offs.

• Hired in the summer of 2013 to coach the club he served so successfully as a player, Phillip Cocu spent several years preparing and working with the senior national team and PSV's youth sides before briefly taking caretaker command of the PSV first XI in 2012. Capped 101 times by the Netherlands, he won four Dutch titles with PSV either side of a lengthy spell at FC Barcelona, peaking with the 1998/99 Liga triumph.

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