AC Sparta Praha have captured their 36th Czech title after FC Viktoria Plzeň's failure to beat FK Jablonec left them holding an unassailable lead with three games to go.
Sparta could have wrapped up matters on Saturday but lost Europe's last unbeaten top-flight record with a shock defeat at FK Teplice. The disappointment was fleeting, however, as Plzeň's 2-2 draw with Jablonec means the title returns to the Letná stadium after a four-year absence.
"Our journey through the season did not start well, an early exit from the Europa League having a negative impact on our league performances," said coach Vítězslav Lavička, who added his first league title as Sparta coach to the seven he won with the club as a player. "We tuned things up soon enough, though, and got on the right path.
"Our next aim is to qualify for the Champions League [group stage]," added the 51-year-old, who also oversaw titles triumphs with FC Slovan Liberec in 2005/06 and Sydney FC in 2009/10. "We want to offer the best games to our loyal fans in the year of our club's [120th] anniversary. We know all too well how tricky it will be to get through the qualifying rounds, though."
The Czech champions will enter the second qualifying round, six games from Lavička's stated aim. There are still four matches to go this season first, chief among them the Czech Cup final against Plzeň on 17 May. They have drawn one and won one against the side already confirmed as runners-up in the league this term, a superior head-to-head record that means Sparta are champions despite the fact that Plzeň could yet match their points haul.
There is still plenty of individual incentive, too, with 15-goal Josef Hušbauer on target to become the first midfielder in Czech league history to finish top scorer. "It is interesting, but of course team success is much more precious for me," said Hušbauer. To underline Sparta's dominance, his closest rival is a team-mate: forward David Lafata.
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|Last updated: 04/05/2014 22:35 CET|
Kopic 27, 86
Tecl 33, Hrošovský 88
|Mladá Boleslav||1-0||Bohemians 1905|
|Venue: Mlada Boleslav|
Harba 8, Schuster 53 (og)
Litsingi 8, Nivaldo 34, Jablonsky 40
Crnkic 59, Cihlar 62, Vašíček 86, 90
Hruby 5, Necid 71, Juhar 88
|1||AC Sparta Praha||27||70|
|2||FC Viktoria Plzeň||27||61|
|3||FK Mladá Boleslav||27||50|
|5||FC Slovan Liberec||27||41|
|6||1. FC Slovácko||27||36|
|7||FK Dukla Praha||27||35|
|8||FC Vysočina Jihlava||27||34|
|10||FC Zbrojovka Brno||27||30|
|11||SK Slavia Praha||27||29|
|12||1. FK Příbram||27||28|
|13||1. SC Znojmo||27||27|
|14||SK Sigma Olomouc||26||25|
|15||FC Baník Ostrava||26||25|