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Plzeň v Dinamo Minsk background

Viktoria Plzeň coach Karel Krejčí took over from Pavel Vrba in the summer and is looking to make a positive UEFA Europa League Group E start against Dinamo Minsk.

Karel Krejčí is now in charge at Viktoria Plzeň
Karel Krejčí is now in charge at Viktoria Plzeň ©Ondřej Zlámal

New FC Viktoria Plzeň coach Karel Krejčí will look to match the European successes of Pavel Vrba as his side meet FC Dinamo Minsk in their UEFA Europa League Group E opener.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time, and it is also Dinamo's first encounter with Czech opponents.

• Plzeň's only previous encounters with Belarusian opposition were a 1-1 home draw and a 1-0 away win against FC BATE Borisov in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Dinamo goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor played for BATE in both of those games; current Plzeň players František Rajtoral, David Limberský, Milan Petržela, Michal Ďuriš, Daniel Kolář, Václav Pilař and Radim Řezník all featured for the Czech side in the course of that tie.

Form guide
• Plzeň were eliminated by Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

• Dinamo have lost only one of their last four European away games (W2 D1 L1).

• Plzeň successfully navigated their way through their only previous UEFA Europa League group stage in 2012/13.

• Dinamo Minsk have reached this stage for the second season in succession; they failed to make it through to the round of 32 last season.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Minsk to Plzen is a little shy of 1,100km.

• Plzeň are one of ten domestic champions in this season's group stage, along with KF Skenderbëu (Albania), FK Qarabağ (Albania), APOEL FC (Cyprus), FC Midtjylland (Denmark), KKS Lech Poznań (Poland), FK Partizan (Serbia), Celtic FC (Scotland), Molde FK (Norway) and FC Basel 1893 (Switzerland).

The coaches
• Karel Krejčí took charge at Plzeň this summer, replacing Miroslav Koubek. He was previously Pavel Vrba's assistant as Plzeň won two league titles, and he continues to work as Vrba's No2 with the Czech Republic national team.

• Former FK Partizan defender Vuk Rašović has been in charge of Dinamo Minsk since the summer, having stepped up to a front-line role after a spell as the club's director of football. He had previously been on the coaching staff at Partizan and their feeder club FK Teleoptik.