Ludogorets Razgrad: Bulgaria with a Brazilian twist

Razgrad Ludogorets may not scream South American flair but the club are going to offer TSG two nights of South American magic in the Europa League. The Bulgarian outfit can draw on a total of nine Brazilian players and a large portion of the team’s recent success – Ludogorets have won six league titles and two cups between 2012 and 2017 – can be attributed to them.

Ludogorets’ impressive success story followed the club’s takeover by oligarch Kyril Domustschiew. Domustschiew bought the club in the 2010/11 season and later oversaw the club’s promotion to the top-tier, a division Ludogorets have dominated ever since. Razgrad made their Europa League debut in 2013/14. The Bulgarian club has had a few memorable nights in the European competition, though none of these have actually taken place in their own stadium, which can only fit 8,800 fans. Instead, Ludogorets play their home fixtures in the capital, Sofia, over 300km away from Razgrad.

Despite all this, the fans of the 31,000-strong city in north Bulgaria have had some European nights to remember. In 2014/15, Ludogorets held Liverpool in a 2-2 draw, lost 2-1 to Real Madrid and beat FC Basel 1-0. Razgrad played the Swiss team two years later in the group stages, and also came up against Paris Saint-German (1-3) and Arsenal (2-3). Last year, the Brazilian-inspired Ludogorets impressed, reaching the round of 16 in the Europa League, narrowly missing out to FC Copenhagen.

The biggest night of the club’s history came in 2014 for the occasion of the away game against Steaua Bucharest. It was the Champions League playoffs and the game had gone to penalties. It was the night Cosmin Moti made himself an eternal club hero. The central defender, who had recently been transferred from Steaua’s rivals, Dynamo, went in goal following a sending off in the 119th minute. Moti saved two penalties and scored one himself on the way to victory. 

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