Viktoria Plzen vs Ludogorets – Champions League Preview

Viktoria Plzen vs Ludogorets – Champions League Preview

On paper the return match Viktoria Plzen vs Ludogorets seems done and dusted for the Bulgarians, who won the first leg 2-0 in Razgrad. But the Champions League home and away format means that it is technically only halftime, and the Bulgarians will have to be wary not to led Viktoria back into the match.

The Bulgarians, however, didn’t seem threatened in the first leg, and should have the necessary firepower to finish this tie off, and advance to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the second time in the club’s history.

Indeed the Czechs seemed overwhelmed with the speed provided by the Bulgarian’s forward line that continuously carved the Czechs wide open. The Dutch-Surinamese right-winger Vura, and the Brazilian striker Jonathan Cafú especially impressed.

It was Jonathan Cafú who brought Ludogorets on the path towards victory, as he was fouled in the penalty area, after managing to break free from the Viktoria defence. The Romanian defender Cosmin Moti easily slotted the resulting penalty home in the 51st minute.

Then in the 64th minute Vura broke free from a defender, and received a wonderful pass from Marcelinho in the box, and managed to beat the keeper at the near post. There were suspicions that Vura may have been offside, but the goal stood, giving Ludogorets a massive advantage when they travel to the Czech Republic for the return match on Tuesday.

For Ludogorets participation at the UEFA Champions League would be key in order to keep some of the squad’s best players until at least the winter. At the same time Ludogorets’ transfer policy is built on bringing in players who could be sold with a profit in the future.

One candidate for a future transfer could be Jonathan Cafú, whose value has recently been increased by from €1 million to €4 million. Ludogorets purchased Cafú for €2.2 million from FC São Paulo last summer, and the hope is that a strong Champions League group stage could generate enough interest to sell the player with a profit.

Cafú is just one of countless examples of Ludogorets players who are hoping to be noticed on Europe’s biggest stage. Now the Bulgarians are just 90 minutes away from reaching the next stage, and only a miracle by the Czechs could stop them.

Hence, many pundits and betting pages, such as have Ludogorets as the favourites to advance to the next round.

Possible Line-ups

Viktoria Plzen:

Formation: 4-4-2

Kozácik – Limbersky, Hejda, Hubnik, Mateju – Kovarik, Hrosovsky, Hromada, Kopic – Bakos, Duris

Manager: Roman Pivarník

Ludogorets Razgrad:

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Stoyanov – Vitinha, Terziev, Plastun, Cicinho – Anicet, Campanharo – Wanderson, Marcelinho, Jonathan Cafú – Keseru

Manager: Georgi Dermendziev

By Manuel Veth –