Zurich vs Ludogorets
Zurich host Ludogorets at Letzigrund in the 2nd round of group A in Europa League.
Zurich started the group matches with an away game against AEK Larnaca and surprisingly took the three points via penalty kick. AEK Larnaca are a team, which often win their home matches without conceding a goal, but it wasn't their day for sure. They had more possession, but also most of the shots were out of target. To make the things even worse, they conceded a penalty during the 2nd half and the Kosovo player Kololli used to score it. In the last five minutes Zurich had to play with 10 men, but it wasn't a problem to keep the positive result and secured their first win in the group.
Ludogorets on the other side started with a home game against Bayer Leverkusen. They suffered an expected loss for me-2:3, although with such a performance they didn't deserve to lose the match, but Bayer were so dominant during the 2nd half, which allowed them to make to comeback. Ludogorets started amazingly good and not only scored the first goal from a free-kick, but also a second one from excellent counter, finished by Marcelinho. After the shocking start, Leverkusen started to show their potential and why they succeeded to come out second, two years ago in a CL group with teams like Monaco, Tottenham and CSKA Moscow. Havertz was the man of the match scoring two times with shots from distance. Their third goal was scored after a bad clearance by Ludogorets goalkeeper Renan.
Both teams are keen on playing in EL or even CL groups and the last place in the group will be a disaster for both of the clubs. I am not sure how serious Leverkusen will take this competition. It's true they started with a win, but it was more to stop the negative run in the start of the season and also their coach not to be fired. If the negative row in the Buldesliga continues, I am sure they will risk to play with more substitutes in some of the EL matches, which is expected to cost them points. I don't see Bayer as a clear favourite in this group and in the next five rounds everything is possible. For me AEK Larnaca are with the lowest chances to progress till now-about 10%, while Bayer are with 40% and Zurich and Ludogorets with 25%. This is very tough group when away wins are absolutely possible in battles between very motivated and I believe EQUAL teams. Bayer in this form is not so scary, while Zurich and Ludogorets are teams with traditions in euro games during the last seasons.
The new players in Ludogrets steadily adapt with the club and even the South African national player Mahlangu succeeded to score his first goal for Ludogorets in the domestic league. The new Brazilian striker Junior Brandao is also adapting well and what to expect when in the club a lot of players are his compatriots and also the coach. Still Keseru will lead the attack and Brandao will be his substitute, but I am not sure for how much time, because the Brazilian will want more minutes for sure. Anicet(MF) and Stoyanov(GK) are the main players, who will be out for this game, but that's not something new. Hosts will miss their left back Pa Modou, who received a red card against AEK Larnaca.
So, why did I choose this pick- both teams to score. First of all there is an opposite trend in Ludogorets, very typical to the team which was a few years ago. To be clearer, Ludogorets started the season with a lot of clean sheets, a lot of results like 1:0 or 0:0...this is not typical for the club! They are known with their offensive dispaly and crazy final results, when both teams succeeded to score a bunch of goals. Well, in the last couple of games we finally saw that opposite trend in their performance- they started to score a lot, but also received at least one goal. BTTS is included in all of their five matches. Zurich on the other side is also a team, which can score goals, especially at home. They rely a lot on fast breaks through the middle and shots from distance, something Ludogorets don't like for sure. All three goals for Bayer were scored almost in that way, so Zurich to score is very, very possible pick, but I also believe Ludogorets are more than capable to score at least one time.
Ludogorets don't have the right to lose second match in a row, so it's time at least to take a point. Last season they finished without an away loss in the group after a win against Braga and two draws with Hoffenheim and Istanbul Basaksehir. That's the reason to make two picks for this match- X2 at 1.55 odds and BTTS-1.70 in bet 365.
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Zurich vs Ludogorets prediction
|BTTS- YES||Bet365||1.70||9||1-0 LOST (-9 units)|