Plzeň v FCSB background

FCSB are already into the round of 32 and Plzeň can join them with a game to spare if they win and the other Group G game ends all square.

Plzeň are looking to join FCSB in the round of 32
Plzeň are looking to join FCSB in the round of 32 ©AFP/Getty Images

The top two teams in UEFA Europa League Group G go head to head in Plzen for the second time this season, with already-qualified FCSB hoping for a repeat of the previous scoreline.

• The Romanian club sealed their round of 32 berth on matchday four and will clinch first place in the section with a win or draw in the Czech Republic. Plzeň can join FCSB in the knockout phase with a game to spare, but only if they beat them and the other group fixture between Lugano and Hapoel Beer-Sheva ends in a draw.

Previous meetings
• The teams first met in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, FCSB making up for a 2-2 home draw with a 4-1 success in Plzen; Michael Krmenčík scored in both legs for Plzeň, but was sent off late in the return match.

• The teams reconvened in the UEFA Europa League on matchday one, with FCSB maintaining their dominance as they ran out 3-0 winners in Bucharest thanks to two Constantin Budescu goals and another from Denis Alibec.

• Plzeň are yet to win in seven games against Romanian opponents (D3 L4).

• FCSB's record in 11 matches with Czech sides is W4 D5 L2 (W2 D1 L2 away).

Form guide
• Plzeň have suffered only two home defeats in the past two European seasons (W4 D3) – both to Romanian opposition. They have scored at least once in their last eight European home fixtures, striking ten goals in their last three (all wins, the biggest 4-1 against Lugano on matchday four).

• The last time Plzeň won all three home games in their UEFA Europa League group, in 2012/13, they went on to reach the round of 16.

• FCSB have qualified with ten points from their first four Group G matches. Their highest points tally in six previous UEFA Europa League group stage adventures is 11, which they achieved in 2012/13 – the only time they have gone through as section winners.

• FCSB are unbeaten away from home in Europe this season (W3 D1), beating both Lugano and Hapoel Beer-Sheva 2-1 on their travels in the group stage. They have therefore doubled the number of away wins they had managed in 18 previous UEFA Europa League group fixtures (W1 D8 L9).

• Runners-up in last term's Czech First League, Viktoria Plzeň are contesting the UEFA Europa League group stage for a third straight season and hoping to avoid a third successive autumn elimination.

• Beaten 5-1 on aggregate by Sporting CP in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, 2016/17 Romanian league runners-up FCSB are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for a seventh time since the tournament assumed its current format in 2009/10 (a record they share with Salzburg). They have now reached the knockout phase three times.

Highlights: FCSB 3-0 Plzeň
Highlights: FCSB 3-0 Plzeň

Links and trivia
• The journey from Bucharest to Plzen is a little over 1,100km.

• Plzeň have won their opening 14 Czech First League games this season, building up a 13-point lead at the top of the table as they chase their fifth championship title in eight seasons.

• This is FCSB's 41st game in the UEFA Europa League group stage – a competition record they share with Salzburg.

• Suspended for next game if booked: Marek Bakoš (Plzeň); Constantin Budescu, Mihai Pintilii (FCSB).

The coaches
• After stints as Czech Republic and Anji coach, Pavel Vrba rejoined Plzeň this year, having earlier steered Viktoria to two championships between 2008 and 2013. Once a Baník Ostrava player and coach, he lifted the 2006/07 Slovak title as Žilina boss.

• Nicolae Dică returned to FCSB as coach in May 2017, having served the club as a player in two previous spells, landing two titles – and a further one with CFR Cluj. The attacking midfielder also played in Italy, Greece and Turkey.