Plzeň earned a famous home win against CSKA Moskva in their last group appearance and will be out for a repeat.
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Back in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in five seasons, Viktoria Plzeň must overcome the experience of CSKA Moskva in order to make a positive start to Group G.
• The Czech champions are in the group stage for the third time, all in the last eight seasons, although this is their first participation since 2013/14. In contrast, CSKA are in the group stage for the sixth year in a row, but have not gone on to the round of 16 since 2011/12; indeed, last season's campaign was the first time since then they had not finished bottom of their UEFA Champions League section.
• Plzeň were paired with CSKA in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League group stage, losing 3-2 in Moscow but winning 2-1 at home on matchday six to finish third in the section and earn a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 at their opponents' expense. Daniel Kolář scored the Czech club's opening goal in the home game, Pavel Vrba's last in his first spell as Plzeň coach.
• Plzeň's 2011/12 and 2013/14 UEFA Champions League seasons both ended in the group stage after starting in the second qualifying round. This is the first time they have automatically qualified for this stage.
• In 2017/18, the Czech club lost to Romania's FCSB in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round (2-2 away, 1-4 home). They went on to finish top of their UEFA Europa League section and beat Partizan in the round of 32, before losing to Sporting CP in the last 16 (0-2 away, 2-1 home aet).
• Plzeň have won their last six home European games, since that 4-1 loss at home to FCSB last season.
• In Plzeň's first two UEFA Champions League group campaigns, their home record was W1 D2 L3. That CSKA victory is their only one at home in the competition proper.
• This is CSKA's 12th UEFA Champions League campaign, equalling the Russian record previously held alone by Spartak Moskva.
• In 2017/18 CSKA finished third behind Manchester United and Basel in their UEFA Champions League section, going on to beat Crvena zvezda and Lyon in the UEFA Europa League before losing to Arsenal in the quarter-finals (1-4 away, 2-2 home).
• The Russian club won five of their eight away European games in 2017/18 (D1 L2), although only one of the last four.
• CSKA recorded their first victory in the Czech Republic on their third and most recent visit, a 3-2 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round success at Sparta Praha in August 2015. The 2013 defeat at Plzeň is their only reverse in six encounters against Czech clubs, home and away (W3 D2).
Links and trivia
• CSKA coach Viktor Goncharenko was in charge of the BATE Borisov team that Plzeň took four points off (1-1 away, 1-0 home) in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Vrba was in charge of Russian club Anji in 2016, with current Plzeň assistant Dušan Fitzel working alongside him again.
• Plzeň captain Roman Hubník and Kirill Nababkin were FC Moskva team-mates between 2007 and 2009.
• Alan Dzagoev scored twice for Russia in a 4-1 defeat of the Czech Republic in the UEFA EURO 2012 group stage; Hubník played 90 minutes with Milan Petržela coming on as a substitute.
• Summer transfers:
In: Luděk Pernica (Jablonec), Ubong Ekpai (Zlín), Roman Procházka (Levski Sofia), Pavel Bucha (unattached)
Out: Andreas Ivanschitz (released), Diego Živulić (Pafos), Václav Pilař (Sigma Olomouc), Miloš Kratochvíl (Jablonec), Marek Bakoš (Spartak Trnava)
• Having won their first six league games this season, Plzeň went down 4-0 at Slavia Praha in a top-of-the-table contest on 1 September. It was their heaviest defeat since a 5-0 loss, also at Slavia, in May 2016.
• Plzeň bounced back by marking Vrba's 200th league match in charge with a 1-0 win against Opava on Saturday. Patrik Hrošovský scored late on from the penalty spot, his first goal since 20 August 2017.
• Radim Řezník, Tomáš Hořava and Michael Krmenčík all featured as the Czech Republic went down 5-1 to Russia – including CSKA's Mário Fernandes – in a 10 September friendly – their joint worst defeat as an independent nation.
• Daniel Kolář came off the bench on Saturday having recovered from a long-term Achilles tendon injury. Roman Procházka missed the Opava match with a muscle problem.
• The club have unveiled their official shirts for the UEFA Champions League group stage, with a logo promoting the Czech national bone marrow donors register on the back of the shirts. All Plzeň's senior and Under-19 players have joined the register.
• Summer transfers
In: Rodrigo Becão (Bahia, loan), Hördur Magnússon (Bristol City), Jaka Bijol (Rudar Velenje), Ilzat Akhmetov (Rubin Kazan), Abel Hernández (unattached), Nikola Vlašić (Everton, loan), Takuma Nishimura (Vegalta Sendai), Arnór Sigurdsson (Norrköping), Ivan Oblyakov (Ufa)
Out: Pontus Wernbloom (released), Georgi Milanov (released), Bibras Natcho (released), Sergei Ignashevich (retired), Aleksei Berezutski (retired), Vasili Berezutski (retired), Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco), Vitinho (Flamengo)
• On 27 July CSKA beat city rivals Lokomotiv 1-0 to win Russian Super Cup, Khetag Khosonov scoring the extra-time winner.
• Fedor Chalov is the Russian Premier League's top scorer after seven games with six goals, including one in Saturday's 3-0 victory at Ufa.
• CSKA were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal Tula in a 9 September friendly.
• Kristijan Bistrović had ankle surgery on 5 September and faces a lengthy recovery. Viktor Vasin, Konstantin Kuchaev, Aleksandr Makarov and Khosonov have also been injured, while Alan Dzagoev came on as a substitute at Ufa after injury and Georgi Schennikov was an unused replacement.
• Captain Igor Akinfeev missed Russia's September internationals with a knee problem but was back in action at Ufa.