The champions of Hungary and Bulgaria meet for the third time this season and will both be eager to build on a promising start to Group H.
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The champions of Hungary and Bulgaria come face to face for the third time this season and will both be eager to build on a promising start to their Group H campaign.
• While Ferencváros unexpectedly held Espanyol to a 1-1 draw in Barcelona on matchday one, Ludogorets produced a sensational second-half performance in Razgrad, overturning a half-time deficit against CSKA Moskva with five unanswered second-half goals including a hat-trick from Romanian international Claudiu Keşerü.
• Ferencváros knocked Ludogorets out of the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round in July, winning both matches – 2-1 in Budapest and 3-2 in Razgrad. The clubs had never previously met in UEFA competition.
• That home win maintained Ferencváros's perfect record against Bulgarian visitors, Ludogorets joining four other clubs – CSKA Sofia, Marek Dupnitsa, Lokomotiv Sofia and Levski Sofia – to have fallen to defeat in the Hungarian capital.
• Ludogorets' only other trip to Hungary also ended in defeat as they lost 1-0 to Vidi (now Fehérvár) in the second leg of last season's UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, having drawn the home leg 0-0.
• Ferencváros became champions of Hungary for a record 30th time last season, claiming their first title in three years. In Europe they were ousted in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League by Maccabi Tel-Aviv (1-1 h, 0-1 a).
• This season, they won their opening two UEFA Champions League qualifying ties for the first time ever – against Ludogorets and Valletta (3-1 h, 1-1 a) – but bowed out to Dinamo Zagreb in the third qualifying round, losing 0-4 in Budapest (their joint heaviest home European defeat) after a 1-1 draw in Croatia. They ensured a debut UEFA Europa League group stage appearance by defeating Lithuanian champions Sūduva in the play-offs (0-0 a, 4-2 h).
• Fradi have appeared in two previous European group stages – the 1995/96 UEFA Champions League and 2004/05 UEFA Cup – but failed to win a home game in either of them (D3 L2). In UEFA Europa League qualifying their record in Budapest is W6 D1 L3.
• Ludogorets' eighth consecutive Bulgarian league title earned them a place in this season's UEFA Champions League first qualifying round, where they were knocked out by Ferencváros. They subsequently came through UEFA Europa League qualifiers against Valur, the New Saints and, in the play-offs, Maribor to reach the group stage of this competition for the third year in a row, and fourth time in all.
• The Razgrad club were successful in their first two UEFA Europa League group stage participations, reaching the round of 16 in 2013/14 and round of 32 in 2017/18, but failed to win any of their six games last season (D4 L2), finishing bottom of a group containing Bayer Leverkusen, Zürich and AEK Larnaca. They also competed in the 2016/17 round of 32, having finished third in their UEFA Champions League group.
• Having won their first four away fixtures in their debut UEFA Europa League participation, Ludogorets have been victorious in only one of the subsequent nine (D5 L3). The only European game they have lost outside Bulgaria in the last 12 months, however, is that 2-1 defeat by Ferencváros (W1 D4).
Links and trivia
• Keşerü's three goals against CSKA on matchday one made him only the third player to score a hat-trick for two clubs in the UEFA Europa League proper – after Raúl Bobadilla (Young Boys, Augsburg) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal). The Romanian's first treble, for Steaua Bucureşti against Aalborg in 2014/15, also came on matchday one and is, at ten minutes, the fastest ever recorded in the competition. Only one player, Radamel Falcao, has ever scored three UEFA Europa League hat-tricks – all for one club, Porto.
• Ferencváros are one of six teams making their debut in the UEFA Europa League group stage this term. The others are LASK, Olexandriya, Wolfsberg, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Group H rivals Espanyol.
• A glittering career as a player that brought Serhiy Rebrov 15 goals in 75 internationals for Ukraine – where he was the regular attacking partner to Andriy Shevchenko – and no fewer than 12 domestic league titles, nine of them over two spells with Dynamo Kyiv, has been followed by a highly promising start on the coaching front. Hired by Dynamo in 2014, he won the Ukrainian title in each of his first two seasons and was at it again in the 2018/19 Hungarian NB I campaign with Ferencváros, overseeing the club's 30th national title before steering them into the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Stanislav Genchev stepped up from his position as Ludogorets assistant coach in August 2019 to oversee the club's UEFA Europa League play-off elimination of Maribor just days after replacing Stoycho Stoev in the hot seat. A 38-year-old former midfielder with seven caps for Bulgaria, he only hung up his boots in June 2017 and went straight into coaching with his final club Etar. He won two successive Bulgarian league titles, in 2011/12 and 2012/13, as a player with Ludogorets – one of a dozen clubs he represented in an eventful career.