UEFA.com profiles Jablonec, a Czech side boasting a prolific defender and trophy-laden captain, as they seek to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit against Ajax.
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Ajax head to the north of the Czech Republic on Thursday carrying a 1-0 lead into their second leg with Jablonec, a side which has boasted World Cup finalists, a prolific defender and a trophy-laden captain. UEFA.com's Ondřej Zlámal gives us a potted history of the UEFA Europa League play-off hopefuls.
UEFA club competitions honours
Domestic honours (most recent triumph in brackets)
• Czech Cup: 2 (2013)
• Czech Super Cup: 1 (2013)
• Formed in 1945 in the north of Bohemia under the famous TV tower on the Ještěd mountain which can be seen from the stadium. With Jablonec connected to nearby Liberec by a tramline, the game with neighbours Slovan Liberec has been dubbed the King of Ještěd derby.
• An historic promotion to the second tier came in 1963. Two Czechoslovakian silver medallists from the 1962 FIFA World Cup – Svatopluk Pluskal anf Ladislav Novák – wore green and white jerseys during that era alongside numerous other big names who helped the club to the top flight for the first time in 1974, though their spell at the top lasted just two seasons.
• It was not until 1994 when the club made it back to the top table again, under the presidency of former goalkeeper Miroslav Pelta and leadership of coach Josef Pešice. The club have never been relegated since, winning their first silverware with the Czech Cup in 1998.
• Another successful era began under coach František Komňacký in 2007 and reached a climax in 2011 as the club finished second to Sparta Praha, a point away from a first ever championship. David Lafata finished top scorer in the division in both the 2010/11 and 2011/12 season before moving to Sparta, while a second Czech Cup was secured in in 2013.
• Now led by Jaroslav Šilhavý, the 53-year-old who was tempted across from rivals Liberec having led them to the UEFA Europa League round of 32 in 2013/14.
• Led on the pitch by Tomáš Hűbschmann, a UEFA European Under-21 champion in 2002, the experienced defender spent a decade in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk where he won eight league championships and the 2009 UEFA Cup.
• Filip Novák scored 11 goals last season, a Czech league record for a defender. Grandson of famous singer and composer Pavel Novák, the 25-year-old made his debut for the national team in March.
• Only defeated by a penalty in the first leg at Ajax, Jablonec's approach to Europe has been inspired by Chelsea. "We tried to play as Chelsea do, with a lot of running, reducing space around our penalty area and Ajax could not get through," said Novák.