A 3-1 friendly win against league side FK Teplice saw the Czech Republic put fringe players to the test before next Wednesday's meeting with Germany.
With left-back Marek Jankulovski, midfield anchor Jan Polák and forward Milan Baroš all suspended for the Group D qualifier in Munich, coach Karel Brückner is resigned to making changes although captain Tomáš Rosický may yet recover from a thigh injury. The playmaker, who has been out for three weeks following Arsenal FC's UEFA Champions League victory against Sevilla FC, is undergoing treatment from the physio who used to look after former Czech president Václav Havel.
Rosický was on the sidelines as the national team took on Teplice, and while the Czechs' all-time top scorer, AS Monaco FC's Jan Koller, played for 73 minutes, it was home-based attackers who masterminded the win. AC Sparta Praha's Marek Kulič marked his 32nd birthday with a double while Stanislav Vlček scored the third. SK Slavia Praha sorely missed the latter, however, as they were eliminated from the Czech Cup in yesterday's 4-3 defeat at fourth-division SK Líšeń.
Brückner introduced 21-year-old Sparta left-back Jiří Kladrubský at half-time with a view to possibly fielding him in place of Jankulovski in Germany. He came on for Udinese Calcio's Tomáš Zápotočný who is still overcoming a bout of flu. Elsewhere, Slavia midfielder Daniel Pudil has been drafted into the squad while David Rozehnal from Newcastle United FC belatedly joined up after his wife gave birth to a son earlier this week.
The Czech Republic will fly to Austria on Friday to spend four days at a training camp in the shadow of the Alps before crossing the border for Germany. They will visit the Fußball Arena München on Wednesday knowing that a draw could be enough for them to return to the Alpine nations next summer as UEFA EURO 2008™ contenders.
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