Roma kick-off European play on Thursday evening when they face Ludogorets in their first Europa League group stage match.
The Giallorossi will travel to Bulgaria in their Group C opener, hoping to put Sunday’s disappointing performance against Udinese behind them.
While this will be the first competitive meeting between the two sides, Ludogorets aren’t strangers to facing Italian clubs in Europe.
The Bulgarians faced Lazio in the 2013/2014 season, Milan in 2017/18, and Inter in 2019/20. Their only victory against a Serie A side came in 2014 when they knocked out the Biancocelesti in the round of 32 thanks to their 1-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico. Since then, Ludogorets have drawn 1 and lost 5 of their fixtures versus Italian opposition.
The hosts will also hope to shake-off their recent struggles in Europa League group play. Over the previous two seasons, Ludogorets have a group stage record of 0 wins, 4 draws, and 8 defeats.
As for the visitors, Thursday marks Roma’s first European clash since being crowned champions of the Conference League back in May which ended the club’s near 15-year trophy drought.
They’ll be tasked with responding to their first defeat of the season after being demolished by Udinese 4-0. The Giallorossi were extremely sluggish against the Zebrette and wasted numerous goalscoring opportunities.
Manager Jose Mourinho is expected to rotate his squad with Andrea Belotti, Zeki Çelik, and Nicola Zalewski all expected to start.
Recent transfer addition Mady Camara is also predicted to not only earn his first call-up, but make his full debut from the start in midfield.
Kick-off is slated for 18.45 CET at the Huvepharma Arena in Razgrad, Bulgaria.
(4-2-3-1): Sluga; Cicinho, Gruper, Olivier Verdon, Nedyalkov; Yordanov, Piotrowski, Show; Rick, Tissera, Tekpetey; Despodov
(3-4-1-2): Rui Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Çelik, Camara, Cristante, Zalewski; Pellegrini; Belotti, Shomurodov