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Ludogorets v Braga background

Ludogorets will be looking to strengthen their position at the Group C summit by repeating their matchday three victory in Portugal in the rematch at home.

Action from the first meeting between the sides as Igor Plastun challenges Ahmed Hassan
Action from the first meeting between the sides as Igor Plastun challenges Ahmed Hassan ©AFP/Getty Images

After leapfrogging Braga to the top of UEFA Europa League Group C with a 2-0 win in Portugal on matchday three, Bulgarian champions Ludogorets will be looking to consolidate their position with a repeat victory in Razgrad.

Previous meetings
• A goal in each half from the visitors at the Estadío Municipal de Braga – the second a curious own goal from Brazilian defender Raúl Silva – enabled Ludogorets to become the first Bulgarian club to win a European club competition encounter in Portugal.

• It was also Ludogorets’ first victory in ten UEFA away fixtures – since a 4-2 extra-time win against Crvena zvezda in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

• The 19 October encounter was the first time Braga had faced Bulgarian opposition and also Ludogorets’ first meeting with a team from Portugal.

Form guide
• Ludogorets are now undefeated in six European matches (W4 D2), and have won all four of their home fixtures in Europe this term, scoring 11 goals in the process and conceding three.

Highlights: Braga 0-2 Ludogorets
Highlights: Braga 0-2 Ludogorets

• Braga's home defeat by Ludogorets ended the club's five-game winning streak in the UEFA Europa League. They have not lost any of their last five European matches on the road, winning each of the last two, most recently 2-1 at Hoffenheim on matchday one.

• Bulgarian champions for the past six seasons, Ludogorets reached the round of 16 in their only previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaign (2013/14); they also played in last season's round of 32 after transferring from the UEFA Champions League.

• Fifth in Portugal last term, and runners-up in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League, Braga are competing in this group stage for the third straight season. Last season's failure to reach the round of 32 ended a perfect record of qualifying from UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stages, their first five forays having all proved successful.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Braga to Razgrad is around 2,850km.

• There were five Brazilian players in each of the two teams' starting line-ups on matchday three – Matheus, Jefferson, Raúl Silva, Marcelo Goiano and Fransérgio for Braga; Renan, Cicinho, Rafael Forster, Wanderson and Natanael for Ludogorets.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Natanael (Ludogorets); Raúl Silva (Braga).

The coaches
• Hired in summer 2017, Ludogorets boss 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.

• At the helm since April 2017, Abel Ferreira was previously Braga's B team coach. A right-back, he graduated from home-town side Penafiel to Vitória SC, Braga and Sporting CP, where he won two Portuguese Cups before retiring in 2011.