Ludogorets lead the way in Group C and could seal progress to the round of 32 against İstanbul Başakşehir, with the Turkish side needing victory to avoid eliminination.
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Ludogorets and İstanbul Başakşehir both have sights firmly set on victory as they meet in Razgrad for a pivotal UEFA Europa League Group C encounter.
• The Bulgarian hosts, currently topping the group with eight points, need a win to secure their berth in the round of 32 – though a draw would also suffice should Hoffenheim fail to get three points away to Braga in the other group fixture. For the Turkish side, at the foot of the table on just two points, it is a straightforward case of win or bust.
• There was nothing to choose between the two sides when they went head to head for the first time on matchday one, drawing 0-0 in Istanbul.
• Turkish clubs are unbeaten in 11 UEFA matches with Bulgarian opponents since the turn of the millennium: W7 D4 (W2 D3 away).
• Ludogorets are undefeated in seven European outings (W4 D3) and have not lost any of their five home UEFA encounters this term (W4 D1).
• The Razgrad outfit have never lost a UEFA Europa League group stage match, winning seven of their ten fixtures and drawing the other three.
• Last term's Turkish Süper Lig runners-up, İstanbul Başakşehir are yet to prevail in a UEFA away fixture (D3 L4) and have won only one of their 14 matches in total, 2-0 at home to Club Brugge in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
• 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.
• Beaten by Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, İstanbul Başakşehir are making their UEFA group stage debut this season.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Istanbul to Razgrad is around 350km.
• Basakşehir full-back Júnior Caiçara played for Ludogorets from 2012–15, winning three Bulgarian titles and a Bulgarian Cup.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Natanael (Ludogorets); Júnior Caiçara, Mevlüt Erdinç and Gökhan Inler (İstanbul Başakşehir).
• Hired in the summer of 2017, Ludogorets boss Dimitar Dimitrov established his coaching credentials at home-town club Neftochimik Burgas and landed Bulgarian titles with Litex Lovech and Levski Sofia, later coaching in Russia and Kazakhstan.
• Abdullah Avcı led Turkey to success in the 2005 UEFA European Under-17 Championship before taking the Başakşehir reins for the first time from 2006–11. He returned to the club in 2014 following an unsuccessful stint as Turkey boss.