Barcelona pose biggest threat yet to Plzeň home rule
Thursday, 20 October 2011
FC Viktoria Plzeň's unbeaten home run in the UEFA Champions League is put to the ultimate test when they welcome an FC Barcelona side with the last 16 firmly in their sights.
Article top media content
FC Viktoria Plzeň's four-match unbeaten home run in this season's UEFA Champions League receives the ultimate test when they welcome title holders FC Barcelona.
• Barcelona beat Plzeň 2-0 at the Camp Nou on matchday three and with another victory will secure qualification so long as FC BATE Borisov fail to beat AC Milan in the other Group H fixture. Bottom-placed Plzeň's hopes of progress are already faint and their elimination will be confirmed if they fail to at least match Milan's result in Belarus.
• Pavel Vrba's Plzeň have played four home games so far in this first UEFA Champions League adventure – beating FC Pyunik (5-1), Rosenborg BK (3-2) and FC København (2-1) in qualifying before drawing 1-1 with BATE on matchday one.
• Prior to this season Plzeň had only played two European home games in their history, against FC Bayern München (0-1) in the 1971/72 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round and Beşiktaş JK (1-1) in last season's UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.
• Those two fixtures, together with the ties against Pyunik and Rosenborg, were played at Plzeň's Stadion města Plzně. Prague's Eden Stadium has been their base from the play-offs onwards but at both venues, the club have failed to keep a clean sheet in Europe.
• Ominously, Barcelona won 5-0 at BATE in their first game on the road in this season's UEFA Champions League. It was the third in a row in the competition for a team who have lost just one of their last seven European away fixtures.
• Josep Guardiola was playing when Barcelona last faced Czech opposition in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League second group stage. He scored the third goal in a 5-0 defeat of AC Sparta Praha at the Camp Nou, and also appeared in Barcelona's 2-1 victory in Prague. He had suffered defeat on Czech soil when Barcelona lost 1-0 at Sparta in the group stage of the 1991/92 European Champion Clubs' Cup, although they won 3-2 at home.
• Barcelona's away record against Czech sides is W2 D1 L2. Their overall record reads W7 D1 L3.
• Pavel Horváth is still seeking a first win against Spanish opposition; he was in the SK Slavia Praha side beaten 1-0 on aggregate by Valencia CF in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup second round and faced Real Madrid CF with Sporting Clube de Portugal in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League first group stage, earning a 2-2 home draw.
• David Villa became Spain's all-time leading scorer after striking twice in the 2-1 home win against the Czech Republic in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying last March. Gerard Piqué, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández and Sergio Busquets also featured in the triumph in Granada.
• Xavi, Busquets and Piqué started the return fixture on 7 October, while Villa and Carles Puyol came on in Spain's 2-0 victory. Daniel Kolář and Petr Jiráček started for the Czechs with Milan Petržela an unused substitute.
• Villa made his UEFA club competition debut for Real Zaragoza in a two-legged victory against SK Sigma Olomouc in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup first round. He appeared as a 62nd-minute substitute against Slavia for Valencia CF in the UEFA Europa League on 22 October 2009, but was sent off 23 minutes later.
• Daniel Alves helped Sevilla FC beat Slavia home and away in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage, scoring in a 3-0 win in the Czech capital. Seydou Keita and Adriano featured alongside him in the 4-2 home success.
• Cesc Fàbregas scored twice as his Arsenal FC side defeated Slavia 7-0 at home in the same group on 23 October 2007. Fàbregas had already found the net in both legs of Arsenal's third qualifying round win against Sparta that season.
• Ibrahim Afellay played for PSV Eindhoven in a 1-0 home victory against Sparta in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League.
• Sergi Gómez and Gerard Deulofeu helped Spain beat a Czech Republic side including Plzeň's Martin Sladký 3-2 after extra time in the 2011 UEFA European Under-19 Championship final in Romania.