Reigning champions in Bulgaria
Ludogorets are the reigning champions in Bulgaria. Ajax's opponents earned 74 points over thirty league matches in the 2022/2023 season, just one point ahead of second-place CSKA Sofia. All together, Ludogorets have won the Bulgarian league championship twelve times and the national cup three times.
Ajax's European opponents play their matches at the Huvepharma Arena. The stadium can seat a crowd of 10,254. Maurice Steijn's team play the first leg against Ludogorets on Thursday, 24 August in Razgrad.
Ivaylo Petev is currently manager of Ludogorets. The 48-year-old from Bulgaria has been at the helm of Ajax's Bulgarian opponents since March 2023, having previously also held ultimate responsibility there between 2010 and 2013. Petev has also previously been manager of the Bulgarian and Bosnia-Herzegovina national teams.
Jody Lukoki played for Ludogorets. The former Ajax player, who had a place in the Amsterdam main squad between 2011 and 2014, played a total of 158 official matches for Ludogorets. He scored 30 goals and made 23 assists while in Bulgaria. Lukoki passed away last year at the age of just 29.
Sergio Padt is the only Dutchman in the Ludogorets squad. The 33-year-old goalkeeper made the switch from FC Groningen to Bulgaria in summer 2021. Padt went through the Ajax youth academy and earned himself a contract, but never saw time playing for the Ajax 1st team.