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FC København are guarding against complacency as they welcome FC Viktoria Plzeň to Denmark bidding to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage again.
The Superliga title holders reached the competition's round of 16 last season, the first Danish club to progress to the knockout phase, and have started this season in equally impressive form, winning six of their first seven games. Captain Mathias Jørgensen is taking nothing for granted, however, saying: "
Some say we are big favourites but these European games tend to have a life of their own and a lot can happen over two matches, even though we feel well prepared and confident after seeing a lot of videos of their team."
It has been a busy summer at FCK, with head coach Ståle Solbakken departing for 1. FC Köln and Zdeněk Pospěch, Jesper Grønkjær, Oscar Wendt and William Kvist also leaving. Roland Nilsson has succeeded Solbakken, while a new-look team have kept four clean sheets in winning their last five matches, including home and away successes against Shamrock Rovers FC in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. "We may not yet know our exact level, but we are finding each other better and better in this new team," Jørgensen added.
Nilsson is also pleased with the way his new charges are coming together, their latest success Saturday's 2-0 home league win against FC Midtjylland. "Now we have played a number of matches with the new team and we are playing more and more like a team, which will also be crucial in Tuesday's game," the FCK coach said.
Plzeň have made an indifferent start to their defence of the Czech First League – Friday's 2-0 defeat of FK Teplice was their first this season at the third time of asking. Pavel Vrba's team have a perfect record in Europe, however, overwhelming Armenia's FC Pyunik 9-1 over two legs in the second qualifying round before a 4-2 aggregate defeat of Rosenborg BK, and the coach is drawing inspiration from one of his former sides.
We will try for the small miracle achieved by MŠK Žilina, who advanced to the group stage last year," said Vrba. "[FCK] have plenty of strength with some top Danish players and several strong foreigners in their lineup." The Plzeň coach has the 35-year-old Marek Čech available to replace Roman Pavlík in goal after the latter suffered a knee injury at Rosenborg, although Petr Jiráček and Marek Bakoš are suspended. "That's an unpleasant complication," Vrba said.
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