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City seek change of fortune under Pellegrini

Manchester City FC are looking to put behind past UEFA Champions League disappointments when they kick off their Group D campaign away at FC Viktoria Plzeň.

Manuel Pellegrini has taken Villarreal and Málaga far in the UEFA Champions League
Manuel Pellegrini has taken Villarreal and Málaga far in the UEFA Champions League ©Getty Images

Manchester City FC will hope it proves third time lucky as they embark on their third UEFA Champions League campaign away to Group D rivals FC Viktoria Plzeň.

• City's two previous campaigns both ended in disappointment as they finished third in their group in 2011/12 and bottom last season, when they did not manage a single victory. However, they will hope for better under Manuel Pellegrini, who replaced Roberto Mancini as manager in the summer and has enjoyed long runs in the competition with both Villarreal CF and Málaga CF, guiding the former to the 2005/06 semi-finals and the latter to the quarter-finals last term.

• City will start as favourites but Pavel Vrba's Plzeň have won ten of their last 11 European outings at the Štruncovy Sady Stadión.

Match background
• While City qualified automatically for the group stage as runners-up in the 2012/13 Premier League, Plzeň had to come through three qualifying rounds – and did so with flying colours. The Czech title winners won all six matches as they overcame Bosnia and Herzegovinia's FK Željezničar 6-4 on aggregate, Estonia's JK Nõmme Kalju 10-2 (agg) and NK Maribor of Slovenia 4-1 (agg).

• Plzeň also enjoyed a strong campaign in the UEFA Europa League last season, winning a group that included holders Club Atlético de Madrid and then defeating SSC Napoli before a 2-1 aggregate loss to Fenerbahçe SK in the round of 16. Prior to their 1-0 home reverse against Fenerbahçe they had posted seven straight home wins in Europe.

• City, by contrast, are looking to improve on a poor away record in the UEFA Champions League. They took no points on their travels in last term's group stage, while in 2011/12 they recorded one victory – at Villarreal – and two defeats.

• City have started both their previous campaigns on the back foot, taking just one point in total from their first two fixtures in 2011/12 and 2012/13.

• The Czech club's only previous group stage campaign came in 2011/12 when they finished third in a group containing FC Barcelona, AC Milan and FC BATE Borisov. At home, they lost to Barcelona but held Milan and BATE.

• For City, this is a first visit to the Czech Republic while Plzeň are facing English opponents for the first time in UEFA competition. The Štruncovy Sady Stadión did once host Grimsby Town FC for a friendly match in 1959, when Spartak Plzeň – as the home side was then known – earned a 3-3 draw.

Team ties
• Pellegrini's Villarreal side won in the Czech Republic in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage when beating FK Mladá Boleslav 2-1. Václav Procházka was in the beaten home team.

• David Silva played in the Spain side that beat Daniel Kolář's Czech Republic 2-0 in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in Prague in October 2011. Jesús Navas featured in Spain's 2-1 home win in March the same year but no Plzeň players were involved.

• Marián Čišovský was in the FC Timişoara team beaten 1-0 at home by City in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League play-off first leg, lining up against Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Yaya Touré and Silva. In the previous season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, he had helped Timişoara overcome Fernandinho's FC Shakhtar Donetsk on away goals.

• Pavel Horváth, David Limberský and Kolář played in the AC Sparta Praha side beaten 5-0 on aggregate by an Arsenal FC team that included Gaël Clichy in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

• Roman Hubník, František Rajtoral and Kolář played in the Czech Republic's 0-0 draw with James Milner's England in Arnhem in their opening group game at the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

• Stevan Jovetič played for Montenegro in their UEFA EURO 2012 play-off defeat against a Czech Republic side featuring Kolář.

• Edin Džeko played in the Czech top flight in 2005/06 and 2006/07, scoring 16 times in 43 league appearances for FK Teplice. He played three games against Plzeň, losing two and drawing one. At the Štruncovy sady, he scored in a 3-3 draw in March 2006 but was less successful in a 2-0 defeat there five months later.

• Kompany helped RSC Anderlecht beat SK Slavia Praha home and away in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League third round qualifying round.

• Limberský had a loan spell at Tottenham Hotspur FC between January and May 2005 but did not make a first-team appearance.

• Horváth played in England in SK Slavia Praha's 3-0 first-leg defeat at Leeds United AFC in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

• Jack Rodwell scored twice against Tomáš Hořava's SK Sigma Olomouc to help Everton FC beat the Czech side 6-2 on aggregate in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League play-offs.

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