Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Real Betis will be aiming to retain top position in Group C when they welcome Ludogorets to their Estadio Benito Villamarin on Thursday. Los Beticos are eager to give fans yet another reason for celebration, and the bookies see them as hot favourites to beat Ludogorets in Andalusia. All Nabil Fekir, Juanmi Jimenez, and Victor Ruiz Torre remain in the recovery room, while experienced attacker Willian Jose is pushing for a start.
The Bulgarian champions, on the other hand, did well to shock star-studded Roma in their first group game, but they will have a mountain to climb in Thursday’s showdown. Since Betis have turned their Estadio Benito Villamarin into a real fortress, we predict that the visitors are going to return home empty-handed. Midfielder Claude Goncalves remains on the sidelines with injury for the away team.
Highlighted Player (Willian José):
Well-travelled Brazilian international Willian Jose was born in Porto Calvo and made his first football steps at a local Clube de Regatas. It was at the age of 17 that he was snapped by Gremio Barueri where he made 26 league appearances and scored six goal in his first – and only – senior season at the club.
In 2011, Willian Jose moved to Deportivo Maldonado but his five-year stint with the Uruguay outfit was marked by no less than seven different loan spells, one of which was to La Liga heavyweights Real Madrid. Standing at 186cm tall, Willian Jose is a notable presence in the box. This powerful centre forward will use his physicality to hold up ball and bring his teammates into play.
The Brazilian international did well to make a name for himself in Spain by playing for Zaragoza and Las Palmas, respectively, before he sealed a permanent move to Real Sociedad in 2016. A member of both FIFA U-20 World Cup and South American Youth Championship winning sides with Brazil in 2011, Willian Jose has not been given a chance to prove his worth at the senior level with Selecao.
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.