Zürich are buoyed by an away win to open Group A as Ludogorets come to Switzerland needing three points.
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There was a winning start to FC Zürich's European season as they posted a 1-0 victory at AEK Larnaca on UEFA Europa League matchday one. The Swiss side will be keen to add to their Group A points tally against a Ludogorets side still smarting from their opening 2-3 home defeat against Bayer Leverkusen but who have never lost an away game in the group stage of this competition.
• FCZ's only past encounters with a Bulgarian club took place 41 years ago, when they overcame CSKA Sofia 2-1 on aggregate in a UEFA Cup first-round tie (1-0 at home).
• Ludogorets have a negative balance against Swiss opposition, having won just one of their six UEFA Champions League matches against Basel – though they did draw the two most recent games, in 2016/17 (1-1 away, 0-0 home), which enabled them to finish above them in their group.
• Zürich ensured a return to Europe after a year's absence by winning the Swiss Cup for the third time in five years – and tenth time in all – as they denied champions Young Boys the double with a 2-1 win in the Berne final.
• FCZ are in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the fourth time and have yet to progress to the knockout phase. They did, however, reach the round of 32 on their sole UEFA Cup group stage participation, in 2007/08.
• The Swiss club are unbeaten in their last eight home group games in the UEFA Europa League (W4 D4). Their only defeat in Zurich at this stage of the competition came in their first such fixture, 0-2 against Sporting CP on matchday one of the 2011/12 season.
• Ludogorets' seventh consecutive Bulgarian league title earned them a place in this season's UEFA Champions League first qualifying round. Having seen off Crusaders 9-0 over two games, they then lost to Hungarian champions Vidi to move into the UEFA Europa League, where they eliminated Zrinjski and Torpedo Kutaisi to reach the group stage of the competition for the second year in a row – and third time in all.
• The Razgrad club have been successful in each of their previous two UEFA Europa League group stage participations, reaching the round of 16 in 2013/14 and round of 32 in 2017/18. They also competed in the 2016/17 round of 32, having finished third in their UEFA Champions League group.
• Ludogorets boast an impressive record on their travels in the UEFA Europa League, having lost just two of their 13 matches, qualifying included (W6 D5). They are undefeated away in six group stage matches (W4 D2).
Links and trivia
• Ludogorets striker Claudiu Keşerü, who opened the scoring against Leverkusen on matchday one, holds the record for the fastest hat-trick scored in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, finding the net three times in ten minutes for Steaua Bucureşti against Aalborg in a 6-0 win on 18 September 2014.
• Keşerü's only appearance for Romania at UEFA EURO 2016 was a 90-minute outing against Switzerland in Paris (1-1).
• A Swiss international left-back from 2000 to 2010 who won 62 caps for his country and appeared at four successive major tournaments, Ludovic Magnin spent most of that time in Germany with Werder Bremen and Stuttgart, winning the Bundesliga with both, before ending his career back in his homeland with Zürich. It was with FCZ's youth teams that he made his first steps as a coach before graduating to the top job in February 2018 and steering the club to Swiss Cup glory three months later.
• A Brazilian coach of vast and varied experience whose many ports of call include Benfica, Botafogo, Santos and the national teams of Peru and Qatar, Paulo Autuori added a new country to his managerial CV when he was appointed by perennial Bulgarian champions Ludogorets in June 2018, succeeding Dimitar Dimitrov as head coach after initially being given the director of football role. His most notable success in 43 years as a coach was a Copa Libertadores/FIFA Club World Cup double with São Paulo in 1995.