Newcomers FK Viktoria Plzeň welcome seven-time European champions AC Milan needing just a point to secure third place in Group H and UEFA Europa League football in the new year.
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FK Viktoria Plzeň welcome AC Milan to Prague looking to finish the job of wrapping up third place in UEFA Champions League Group H.
• With Milan already secure in second place behind FC Barcelona, the overriding question at the Stadion Eden is whether Plzeň, 2-0 losers at San Siro in September, can retain their advantage over fourth-placed FC BATE Borisov and earn entry into the UEFA Europa League.
• Plzeň's victory in Belarus on matchday five – their first in the UEFA Champions League – lifted them two points above BATE and left them needing only a draw against Massimiliano Allegri's Milan to guarantee European football after Christmas for the first time.
• This is the first home meeting with Italian opponents for Plzeň, the UEFA Champions League newcomers who are still seeking a first home victory in the competition proper. Pavel Vrba's men did post three successive wins at their own ground in the qualifying round and play-offs in July and August.
• Milan have not won away to Czech opposition since their first visit to the country, beating AC Sparta Praha 1-0 through a Luciano Chiarugi goal in the 1972/73 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals en route to winning the trophy.
• The Rossoneri's most recent trip to the Czech Republic brought a goalless draw with Sparta in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League round of 16, a match featuring Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf and unused substitutes Christian Abbiati and Massimo Ambrosini. Their overall record in the country is W1 D2 L1.
• Antonio Nocerino and Alberto Aquilani played for Italy in a 3-1 win against František Rajtoral's Czech Republic at the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, Aquilani scoring one of the goals.
• Gattuso, Alessandro Nesta and Gianluca Zambrotta played in Italy's 2-0 victory against the Czech Republic at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
• Before switching his international allegiance to Ghana, Kevin-Prince Boateng was in the Germany side that beat Martin Fillo and Rajtoral's Czech Republic 2-1 in a UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite-round fixture in Zlin in May 2005.
• David Limberský made four appearances in Serie A during a loan spell at Modena FC in 2003/04. He did not face the Rossoneri but did line up against Daniele Bonera in a 2-2 draw with the Milan player's old side, Parma FC, on 6 March 2004.
• Plzeň's most experienced European campaigner, Pavel Horváth, has had mixed fortunes in home ties against Italian opposition with his previous clubs.
• With SK Slavia Praha, Horváth suffered a 2-0 home defeat against Bologna FC in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup second round. He then earned a 1-0 win against Udinese Calcio – and eventual away-goals success – in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup fourth round. With Galatasaray AŞ, he sat on the bench for a 1-0 home win against a Nesta-skippered S.S. Lazio side in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League first group stage.
• Taye Taiwo scored on Czech soil for Olympique de Marseille against FK Mladá Boleslav in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup first round but finished on the losing side as a 4-2 defeat confirmed the French side's elimination by a 4-3 aggregate score.
• Former Czech international Pavel Nedvěd had a spell in the youth ranks at Plzeň and later enjoyed a long and successful career in Italy with Lazio (1996 to 2001) and Juventus (2001 to 2009). He is now a member of the Juventus board.