Preview: North Macedonia vs. Bulgaria – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday’s Nations League clash between North Macedonia and Bulgaria, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.

North Macedonia host Bulgaria in League C Group 4 of UEFA Nations League on Monday.

Both teams are fighting for second place in the group, the promotion and relegation places have already been determined.

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North Macedonia's head coach Blagoja Milevski pictured on November 14, 2021©Reuters

After missing out on promotion to League B by two points against Armenia last season, Macedonia have fallen back a bit in Europe’s third division.

Considering they qualified for Euro 2020 – before beating Italy to set up a play-off against Portugal later this year to qualify for the World Cup which they lost 2-0 -, the Lynxes may feel like they’ve proven they can compete at a higher level.

However, a 2-0 defeat away at Georgia on Friday ended their hopes and Napoli caused a sensation Khvicha Kvarachelia then seal his nation’s victory Bojan MiovskiThe own goal in the 34th minute had presented the guests with a difficult task.

With a one-point lead over third-placed Bulgaria in League C Group 4 on Monday in Skopje, head coach Blagoya Milevski will want to make sure his players live up to themselves and claim second place by avoiding defeat.

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Bulgaria's Valentin Antov will be shown a yellow card in the clash with Northern Ireland on March 31, 2021©Reuters

After being relegated from League B last season, Bulgaria would have wished to immediately return to Europe’s second division.

However, Friday’s 5-1 win over Gibraltar was their first win of this edition of the Nations League, with five different goalscorers ensuring they would at least avoid the agony of relegation to the bottom tier of the competition.

Former boss of Maccabi Haifa Mladen Krstajic oversaw his first game since taking charge two months ago and while the lack of quality of opponents must be taken into account it has certainly been a positive start after a seven-game winless streak prior to his appointment.

Monday’s game at the Philip II Arena will put Krstajic’s management and his players’ skills to a much tougher test, but should they be able to pull off a surprise win away from home, second place in the group would be a platform , on which to build the future.

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Form of North Macedonia Nations League:

Form North Macedonia (all competitions):

Form of the Bulgarian Nations League:

Form Bulgaria (all competitions):

Team News

Italy's Marco Verratti looks dejected as North Macedonia's players celebrate after the match on March 24, 2022©Reuters

Stefan Ristowski, Arijan Ademi, Darko Churlinov and Valon Ethemi all were injured before the trip to Georgia from Macedonia’s squad and the quartet will not be there on Monday either.

Aleksandar Trajkowskiwho has scored 20 goals at international level could come up in attack after being used only from the bench in Friday’s 2-0 defeat.

Bulgaria, on the other hand, was able to make international debuts Ivan Yordanov, Hristian Petrov, Mateo Stamatov and Ivan Dyulgerov at any stage of the game.

However, Krstajic is unlikely to make too many changes after such a strong performance in his first game in charge against Gibraltar on Friday as he seeks to make a positive impact early in his tenure.

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North Macedonia possible starting line-up:
Dimitrievsky; Todoroski, Velkowski, Musliu, Alioski; Askovski, Bardhi, Spirovski, Elmas; Ristovski, Trajkovski

Bulgaria possible starting line-up:
Naumov; Hristov, Antov, Nedyalkov; Turitsov, Gruev, Krastev, Petkov; Despodov, Stefanov, Kirilov

SM words green background

We say: North Macedonia – Bulgaria 1:1

Bulgaria go into this clash with more momentum after beating Gibraltar in Krstajic’s first game on Friday.

However, Macedonia should have enough to avoid defeat and hold second place in Group 4 of League C.

For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.

top tip

Our expert tipster partners at predict under 3.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their tried and true football tips.Under 3.5:Data

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