There were rumors swirling around social media yesterday that Ludogorets, Tottenham Hotspur’s Bulgarian opponents in tomorrow’s Europa League group stage match, wouldn’t have enough players to actually field a team. The Bulgarian league leaders have been ravaged by COVID-19 positive tests, precautionary quarantines, and injuries.
However, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Bulgarian football journalist Metodi Shumanov is reporting that Ludogorets boarded a plane to London this morning and that the game will in fact go on as planned.
According to Shumanov, who was part of a press conference before leaving Bulgaria, Ludogorets manager Stanslav Gorchev said his team is hanging on by a thread.
‘We’ve barely managed to complete our matchday squad - most of the players have trained just once. Some of them have just come out of quarantine, others have recovered from injuries. I’ve never dealt with so many problems.’
This is, of course, awful news for Ludogorets, but probably good news for Tottenham, at least from a sporting perspective. A Tottenham B-side rolled to a 3-1 win in Bulgaria, arguably the tougher of the two matches, and if the visitors are as banged up as they say and missing key players, the result could be a lot easier than it might otherwise be.
Of course, this is why you play the matches, and Tottenham is almost certainly not taking anything for granted or looking past their opponents. Frankly, I’d rather see Tottenham play a fully healthy Ludogorets side because I feel kinda bad for them, but a win makes it almost certain that Spurs progress out of their group. No time to be nice.