Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Thanks to a 2-0 win over LASK, Antwerp retained top position in Group J, but they have yet to get their job done in the Europa League group stages. The Jupiler League outfit aim to move one step closer to booking their place in the last 32, and they are likely to go all guns blazing at Ludogorets on Thursday evening. The Bulgarian champions have been struggling in the Europa League this season, with the team suffering a loss in each of their four group games.
Ludogorets are low on confidence ahead of the trip to Belgium, and they are unlikely to spoil Antwerp’s party at Bosuilstadion. When the two teams met at Huvepharma Arena earlier in the process Antwerp defeated Ludogorets 2-1, which is yet another reason why we are tempted to put our money on the hosts.
Highlighted Player (Lior Refaelov):
Lior Refaelov is an Israeli footballer playing as an attacking midfielder for the Belgium giants with whom he has been a mainstay since his arrival in 2011. Rafaelov began his career at Maccabi Haifa where he played 161 league appearances and scored 30 goals before moving to Belgium.
The experienced 30-year-old Israel international has made his senior debut for his country in 2007 and has since earned over 30 caps for Israel. Lior Rafaelov is a player of vast international experience despite the fact Club Brugge are his first and so far only club in Europe.
The 30-year-old attacking midfielder is a major force upfront who has scored six times during Brugge’s Europa League campaign in 2014-15, while he also scored the winner in the Belgian Cup final to earn his club a first trophy in eight years. Last season Rafaleov repeated the feat, having scored in the 2016 Belgian Cup Final, but it wasn’t enough for Club Brugge to avoid getting defeated 2-1 to Standard Liege.
Highlighted Team (Ludogorets):
Bulgarian football club PFC Ludogorets Razgrad, commonly referred to as Eagles, compete at the Ludogorets Arena with the capacity of 8,000. PFC Ludogorets Razgrad are owned by Kiril Domuschiev, who made it his personal goal to propel the club to domestic and international success and to hold up the Bulgarian flag high with nation’s biggest clubs Levski and CSKA going through turbulent times.
Having seen their stock rise astronomically since 2010, PFK Ludogorets Razgrad have become the first Bulgarian club to be features in the UEFA Champions League group stage twice. Previously, their maiden participation happened in 2014-15 season when the Bulgarian club made headlines due to notable results against FC Basel and Liverpool.
Their success on domestic scene has been equally impressive as PFC Ludogorets Razgrad remain the second team in the world to win a treble after being promoted from the second to the first league. Main force of the Bulgarian club are the Brazilian players, currently eight of them in the squad many of whom hold the Bulgarian citizenship.