Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Ludogorets in Razgrad, Espanyol moved one step closer to securing their place in the Europa League knockout stages. Los Periquitos are leading the standings ahead of the visit of the Bulgarian champions, meaning that they would be happy with one point from Thursday’s clash. Even though the La Liga side will be without suspended full-back Javi Lopez against Ludogorets, we are positive that they are going to grab something from the game.
The Bulgarians sit in second place in the standings after three rounds, meaning that they would be satisfied with the share of spoils as well. Chinese attacker Wu Lei is likely to lead the line for the hosts against Ludogorets, while Espanyol defenders should have Romania international Keseru, who has been scoring goals for fun in all competitions this season.
Highlighted Player (Javi Lopez):
Javi Lopez is Spanish footballer who plays for La Liga side Espanyol. Lopez plays for the Catalan outfit as a midfielder, but he is capable of playing at full back as well. After spending his youth career at Real Betis, he moved to Espanyol in 2007 and he was playing for the B squad between 2007 and 2010.
Under Argentine coach Mauricio Pochettino he was promoted to the first team and he has been playing for Espanyol in La Liga ever since. He made his Espanyol debut on 4 October, 2009 in a goalless draw with Villarreal. Javi Lopez was born in Osuna, Andalusia, but he lives with his family in Barcelona. The Spanish player was born on 21 January.
His contract with Espanyol expires on 30 June, 2018 and it has to be noted that his market value in July, 2016 was €3 million. Following Sergio Garcia’s departure he was named Espanyol captain for the 2015/2016 La Liga campaign.
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.