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Season review: Czech Republic

Published: Wednesday 18 June 2014, 9.10CET
Records tumbled in the Czech Republic as league and cup winners AC Sparta Praha accumulated 79 points and became the first side to win all 15 of their home matches.
by Ondřej Zlámal
from Prague
Season review: Czech Republic
Sparta's Josef Hušbauer was named player of the season ©Vlastimil Vacek
Published: Wednesday 18 June 2014, 9.10CET

Season review: Czech Republic

Records tumbled in the Czech Republic as league and cup winners AC Sparta Praha accumulated 79 points and became the first side to win all 15 of their home matches.

AC Sparta Praha racked up 79 points and became the first side to win all 15 of their home outings en route to claiming another Czech title. Dethroned champions FC Viktoria Plzeň had to be content with second spot, meanwhile, despite finishing a point better off than last term.

Champions: AC Sparta Praha
After dropping out of the UEFA Europa League in the second qualifying round, Vítězslav Lavička's men put together a sequence of 26 opening league matches without defeat. A peerless home run coupled with an overall record reading W25 D4 L1 ensured Sparta finished 13 points clear of closest perusers Plzeň. Among their standout performers, midfielder Bořek Dočkal provided more assists (19) in a single season than any other player in Czech First League history. "Our next aim is to qualify for the Champions League [group stage]," Lavička concluded. "We know all too well how tricky it will be to get through the qualifying rounds, though."

Cup final: FC Viktoria Plzeň 1-1 AC Sparta Praha (aet, Sparta win 8-7 on penalties)
Plzeň were closing in on victory – courtesy of Radim Řezník's opener – when Milan Petržela handled in a crowded area and Josef Hušbauer scored from the spot. A shoot-out followed, and it featured just two misses each after nine rounds. Then Petržela's day went from bad to worse as he missed the target and Sparta right-back Pavel Kadeřábek stepped up to clinch the trophy. "I am really happy about the excellent end to the season," Sparta midfielder Lukáš Vácha told UEFA.com. "We have achieved both the targets we set at the start of it."

European places*
AC Sparta Praha – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
FC Viktoria Plzeň – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
FK Mladá Boleslav – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FC Slovan Liberec – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Josef Hušbauer (AC Sparta Praha)
The 24-year-old playmaker enjoyed his most productive season yet with 18 goals, while his technical proficiency, passing range and penchant for the spectacular drew comparisons with 1962 Ballon d'Or winner Josef Masopust. Capped eight times by Czech Republic, Hušbauer opened his international account against Finland in May.

One to watch: Pavel Kadeřábek (AC Sparta Praha)
Voted the league's best defender, Kadeřábek shone for club and country, producing an outstanding display on his Czech Republic bow against Austria. The 22-year-old full-back also showed nerves of steel by converting the decisive penalty in the cup final. 

Surprise package: FK Mladá Boleslav
Led by experienced coach Karel Jarolím, Mladá Boleslav clinched third spot and a UEFA Europa League berth. They were especially strong at home, posting 11 wins and losing just twice. Midfielder Jasmin Šćuk, 23, contributed 12 goals from midfield and is another one to watch for the future. 

Leading scorer: Josef Hušbauer (AC Sparta Praha) 18

Relegated: SK Sigma Olomouc, 1. FC Znojmo

Promoted: Dynamo České Budějovice, FC Hradec Králové

Number: 673
The record number of goals scored during the 2013/14 campaign. 

Quote
"The road to the Champions League is long and treacherous but we'll do everything to prepare well in our efforts to play European football." 
Sparta coach Lavička rallies his players for next season

Last updated: 18/06/14 15.19CET

Related information

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http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=cze/news/newsid=2114657.html#season+review+czech+republic

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