By 1370 Murad controlled most of Thrace, bringing him into direct contact with Bulgaria and the southeastern Serbian lands ruled by Uglješa. Uglješa, the most powerful Serb regional ruler, unsuccessfully attempted to forge an anti-Ottoman alliance of Balkan states in 1371. Byzantium, vulnerable to the Turks because of its food supply situation, refused to cooperate. Bulgaria, following Ivan Aleksandar's death early that Year, lay officially divided into the "Empire" of Vidin, ruled by Stratsimir (1370–96), and Aleksandar's direct successor Tsar Ivan Shishman (1371–95), who ruled central Bulgaria from Turnovo. Young, his hold on the throne unsteady, threatened by Stratsimir, and probably pressured by the Turks, Shishman could not afford to participate in Uglješa's scheme. Of the regional Serb bojars, only Vukašin, protector of Uroš and Uglješa's brother, joined in the effort. The others either failed to recognize the Ottoman danger or refused to participate lest competitors attacked while they were in the field.
The Savoyard crusade was a crusading expedition to the Balkans in 1366–67. It was born out of the same planning that led to the Alexandrian Crusade and was the brainchild of Pope Urban V. It was led by Count Amadeus VI of Savoy and directed against the growing Ottoman Empire in eastern Europe. Although intended as a collaboration with the Kingdom of Hungary and the Byzantine Empire, the crusade was diverted from its main purpose to attack the Second Bulgarian Empire. There the crusaders made small gains that they handed over to the Byzantines. It did take back some territory the Ottomans in the vicinity of Constantinople and on Gallipoli.