Tuesday’s match between KF Ballkani and Ludogorets at the Pristina City Stadium will mark the beginning of their quest for a spot in the Champions League.
Ballkani will participate in Champions League qualifying for the second consecutive year. They will be aiming for a better result than the previous year when they were eliminated in the first round by Zalgiris.
Regular Champions League qualifiers, Ludogorets has defeated Sutjeska Niksic at home and away the last three seasons. They have advanced past the first round each time.
KF Ballkani vs Ludogorets
KF Ballkani will attempt to advance past the first qualifying round of the Champions League for the first time in their history after winning their second (consecutive) championship in Kosovo. They lost 2:1 on aggregate when they played Zagliris in the first round the season before. By winning the Conference League last year, KF Ballkani became the first Kosovo team to get to the group stage of any European competition.
However, we must point out that they had a very simple path to victory because they faced La Fiorita (San Marino), KI (Faroe Islands), and Shkupi (North Macedonia). With four points in six games later during the group stage, they were the worst team in the group.
Ludogorets Having won 12 straight titles, Razgrad has recently emerged as the dominant force in Bulgaria. They won both the Cup and the league championship last year. One of the teams that makes significant financial investments (for this region of Europe) is Ludogorets, and both domestic and international contests show the fruits of their labor. Every year for the past nine, Ludogorets has advanced to the group stage of either the Europa League or the Champions League.
Even though KF Ballkani finished the previous season with 73 points in 36 rounds of play in their league, winning “only” 20 games in 36 contests is insufficient for a league of this caliber. We saw how badly they struggled the previous season in the Europa Conference League group stage when they played Ludogorets-caliber opponents, even at home. They competed in a group with Cluj, Sivass, and Slavia Prague, and they only earned one point at home, against Cluj. However, they were outplayed in that game and could easily have finished the competition at home with a score of 0 points.
Last year, Ludogorets Razgrad competed in the Europa Conference league’s 1/16 finals, where they were defeated by Anderlecht on penalties. They had a strong run, and because the team saw few changes, we anticipate another successful campaign from them.
I believe that both teams are very different in quality, particularly in terms of offensive talent. Ballkani’s home field is their lone edge over Ludogorets Razgrad in the first leg, but it was insufficient in the majority of European matches last year.
Tip: BTTS (NO) / Ludogorets to win
Ludogorets to win – ❌
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Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.