Ludogorets v Hoffenheim background

Ludogorets will look to inflict a fourth successive UEFA defeat on Hoffenheim, though recent meetings between clubs from these nations have not favoured the Bulgarian sides.

Anicet Abel applauds the Ludogorets crowd
Anicet Abel applauds the Ludogorets crowd ©UEFA.com

Ludogorets will look to inflict a fourth successive European defeat on Hoffenheim in Group C, though recent meetings between clubs from these nations have not favoured the Bulgarian sides.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time; Ludogorets have never played another German side, and this is Hoffenheim's maiden encounter with Bulgarian opponents.

• There have been no Bulgarian wins in the last 11 UEFA games between Bulgarian and German sides in UEFA club competition (D4 L7), though the most recent three of those fixtures ended in draws.

• The last Bulgarian success against German opponents was CSKA Sofia's 1-0 defeat of Leverkusen on 29 September 2005 – almost 12 years to the day before this match.

Highlights: Istanbul Başakşehir v Ludogorets
Highlights: Istanbul Başakşehir v Ludogorets

Form guide
• Ludogorets have won their last three European home games. They have not conceded in their last three UEFA fixtures, including successive 0-0 draws.

• Hoffenheim are looking to avoid a fourth successive defeat in their maiden European season – though they have scored at least once in all three of their games to date.

• Bulgarian champions Ludogorets got to the round of 16 in their only previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaign of 2013/14 – and played in last season's round of 32 after transferring from the UEFA Champions League.

• Defeated by Liverpool home and away in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Hoffenheim are contesting the UEFA Europa League group stage in what is their first season in UEFA competition.

Highlights: Hoffenheim v Braga
Highlights: Hoffenheim v Braga

Links and trivia
• The journey from Sinsheim to Razgrad is around 1,500km.

• This will be Ludogorets' 54th UEFA club competition game – and Hoffenheim's fourth.

The coaches
• Hired in summer 2017, Ludogorets coach Dimitar Dimitrov established his coaching reputation at home-town club Neftochimik Burgas and landed Bulgarian titles with Litex Lovech and Levski Sofia, later coaching in Russia and Kazakhstan.

• Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann's playing career ended prematurely due to persistent knee problems, but he shone as a youth coach and – aged 28 – took charge of Hoffenheim in 2016, becoming the Bundesliga's youngest ever senior boss.