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Viktoria Plzeň v Lugano background

Viktoria Plzeň will be looking to avenge their 3-2 defeat in Lugano last time out, but will need to improve on a poor recent record at home in Europe.

Lugano celebrate victory over Plzeň on matchday three
Lugano celebrate victory over Plzeň on matchday three ©AFP/Getty Images

Viktoria Plzeň will be eager to carry some of their outstanding domestic form into UEFA Europa League Group G, where they have just three points from as many games after losing 3-2 away to Lugano last time out.

Previous meetings
• The sides met for the first time on matchday three in Lucerne, with Plzeň's maiden encounter against Swiss opposition resulting in defeat. All five goals came in the second half, with Mattia Bottani, Carlinhos Junior and Alexander Gerndt scoring for Lugano, and Michael Krmenčík and Marek Bakoš – with his 20th European goal – replying for Plzeň.

• That was Lugano's first win against Czech opponents as their one previous such tie, against Slavia Praha in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup second round, brought a pair of defeats – 2-1 in Lugano and 1-0 in Prague.

Form guide
• Plzeň have won only three of their last ten European home matches (D4 L3), but have been victorious, by 3-1 scorelines, in each of this season's two UEFA Europa League fixtures in Plzen – against AEK Larnaca in the play-offs and against Hapoel Beer-Sheva on matchday two.

• In ten European away games to date, Lugano have earned just one win (D2 L7) and scored only three goals; however, that lone victory came at Internazionale Milano in a 1-0 second-leg success in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup first round, giving the Swiss club a famous 2-1 aggregate triumph.

Highlights: Lugano 3-2 Plzeň
Highlights: Lugano 3-2 Plzeň

• Lugano have conceded two goals in each of their three Group G fixtures.

• Runners-up in last term's Czech First League, Viktoria Plzeň are contesting the UEFA Europa League group stage for a third straight season and hoping to avoid a third successive autumn elimination. They reached the last 16 in 2012/13 and 2013/14.

• Third in Switzerland last term, Lugano – from the Italian-speaking Ticino canton – have been absent from UEFA competition since 2002/03 and have never before featured in a group stage.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Lugano to Plzen is a little over 500km.

• Plzeň have won their opening 12 Czech league games, building up an 11-point lead at the top of the table as they chase their fifth championship in eight seasons.

• Plzeň's Martin Zeman played in Switzerland with Sion (2015–16).

• Suspended for next game if booked: Marek Bakoš (Plzeň); Fabio Daprelà (Lugano).

The coaches
• After stints as Czech Republic and Anji coach, Pavel Vrba rejoined Plzeň this year, having earlier steered Viktoria to two championships between 2008 and 2013. Once a Baník Ostrava player and coach, he lifted the 2006/07 Slovak title as Žilina boss.

• Pierluigi Tami took charge of Lugano for a second time in June 2017, the Italian-born defender having spent his entire professional career in Switzerland. Notably, he assisted Ottmar Hitzfeld during his spell as national coach.