FK Viktoria Plzeň coach Pavel Vrba said that his tournament newcomers were determined to show they are "not here just to get beaten" ahead of hosting FC BATE Borisov.
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FK Viktoria Plzeň coach Pavel Vrba said that the UEFA Champions League newcomers were determined to do more than just to make up the numbers in Group H as he targeted a winning start against FC BATE Borisov. His BATE counterpart Viktor Goncharenko believes a visit to the Czech champions is not the ideal way to start but considers it vital to take points off their fellow outsiders.
Coach Pavel Vrba
I think the first match is always the most important – we're playing at home, we want to earn some points and we want our opponents in the group to feel we can seriously do something and are not here just to get beaten in every game.
It will be more than difficult. I saw BATE in two matches against Sturm and they played better away, switching from defence to counterattacks, but I believe we can defeat them. BATE are a good example of a team who play European competition regularly; economically they have no equals in Belarus but I think they would have a tough job here in the Czech Republic, where we have more teams on a similar level.
It is something tremendous to be among the 32 best clubs in Europe. We want to enjoy the Champions League but at the same time we want to advance. It will not be just a walkover. It is important to make a good impression and I will be more than happy if we have something to play for going into the last game.
Friday: SK Sigma Olomouc 2-3 Plzeň
(Heinz 7 90+1; Bakoš 4 9, Kolár 79)
Čech; Rajtoral, Čišovský, Bystroň, Limberský; Horváth, Jiráček; Petržela (Ďuriš 61), Kolář (Trapp 90), Pilař (Fillo 81); Bakoš
• Plzeň's 30-match unbeaten run at home in the league, stretching back over two years, ended on 29 August with a 2-0 defeat by AC Sparta Praha.
Goalkeeper Roman Pavlík will be out until the end of September after injuring his knee at Rosenborg BK on 27 July. Plzeň signed Marek Čech, 35, as cover. Petr Jiraček shook off an ankle problem to start at Sigma on Friday and Vrba has no fresh injury worries.
Coach Viktor Goncharenko
This group has two clear favorites: AC Milan and Barça. They have won the Champions League many times and we are aware of their strengths and will try to make their lives harder. Matches against Barcelona and Milan are football holidays for us and it is the highest reward for all of us in the club for the hard work we do during the season. We are successful as a club because of our good organisation and the work with a team that keeps wanting to improve and move on to a higher level.
It is most realistic for us to gain points against Viktoria Plzeň, but why should we be satisfied with a battle for third spot in the group? Matches with Plzeň will be of the highest importance but we also want to take some points against the giants. Plzeň are a good team, they came through three qualifying rounds, have good individuals but also play well as a team. They have fast, counterattacking players. We have followed them closely in Europe as well as in their league match with Olomouc.
As with all the teams, Plzeň also have their weaknesses, which we have to punish tomorrow, if we want to be successful. Playing the first match away to Plzeň is not the best situation; we would be better off playing away against one of the two big clubs, but this is how the draw panned out and we have to deal with the situation.
Friday: FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk 0-0 BATE
Chesnovski; Baga, Filipenko, Simić, Bordachev; A Volodko, Olekhnovich, Rudik (M Volodko 58), Gordeychuk; Bressan (Patotski 84); Kežman (Porfirio 67)
• BATE's run of league games without a win extended to four in Salihorsk, their worst sequence in three years.
Vitali Rodionov will miss the group stage after rupturing knee ligaments and is expected to be out until at least April. Evgeni Kuntsevich has been ruled out until the new year after undergoing knee ligament surgery in July; midfielders Dmitri Likhtarovich (muscular problem) and Aleksandr Pavlov (torn adductors) are also sidelined. Artyom Kontsevoi (groin) and Aleksandr Yurevich (torn ankle ligament) are back in training.
This is the first time Plzeň have reached the group stage of a European club competition, having won the 2010/11 Czech title in their centenary year. BATE are competing in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the second time. They finished bottom of their section in 2008/09.