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UEFA Champions League: Ludogorets v Real Madrid

The UEFA Champions League holders travel to Bulgaria as heavy favourites to take all three points against a Ludogorets side making their debut on European football's biggest stage this season, but will be wary that history is against them at the Stadion Vasil Levski.

With Ludogorets' home stadium in Razgrad deemed unfit to host Champions League games, this week's clash has been moved to a ground in the Bulgarian capital that has played host to some of the biggest shocks in the competition's history.

Between 1973 and 1982 three tournament winners - Ajax, Nottingham Forest and Liverpool - tasted defeat at the Vasil Levski the season after capturing the crown, with the trio all eliminated by Bulgaria's most successful club CSKA Sofia.

An expected sell-out crowd of almost 42,000 will be hoping that Ludogorets can restore the ground's reputation as a graveyard of champions, however, the hosts' task could not be more daunting versus a Real side in sparkling goalscoring form.

The 10-time winners head into the game on the back of four consecutive victories in all competitions - wins that have seen them score 20 goals in the process.

And, with Real boss Carlo Ancelotti not encountering any new injury problems, the odds are heavily stacked against Georgi Dermendzhiev's men pulling off what would go down as the greatest result in their history.

Sami Khedira (thigh) and Jese Rodriguez (knee) are still on the sidelines along with Fabio Coentrao, but centre-back Pepe is close to a comeback from a muscle problem.

Defenders Alexandre Barthe and Georgi Terziev are injury doubts for Ludogorets yet, despite the clear gulf in quality, Spanish winger Dani Abalo - goalscorer in their 2-1 defeat to Liverpool on matchday one - is in positive mood ahead of the Group B encounter.

"I hope I can keep scoring many more," Abalo said. "It was great to score Ludogorets' first Champions League goal and everyone congratulated me after. 

"I always hoped I'd play in Europe when I came here, but to score a goal in Europe was amazing. It would be a dream to do it again against Real Madrid.

"It will be a game to enjoy, for sure. It will be very difficult, we're very aware of that, but I think it's important that we enjoy it.

"If we can play like we did against Liverpool, I think we can give them a real challenge."