Viktoria Plzen v Manchester City: Unbeaten Czech league champions set to welcome Manuel Pellegrini's side to the Struncovy Sady Stadion - European - Football - The Independent

Viktoria Plzen v Manchester City: Unbeaten Czech league champions set to welcome Manuel Pellegrini's side to the Struncovy Sady Stadion

Plzen are yet to lose a game this season having won 12 and drawn two, and they will be hoping to keep that record intact despite the arrival of Pellegrini's star-studded City side

Manchester City will be hoping it is third time lucky as they look to progress out of their Champions League group, and although they face tough matches against reigning champions Bayern Munich and Russian side CSKA Moscow, the face a not so daunting trip to Viktoria Plzen.

However, although City – armed with Manuel Pellegrini now at the helm rather than his predecessor Roberto Mancini – will start as overwhelming favourites, Plzen have won 10 of their last 11 European games at the Štruncovy Sady Stadion.

The Czech Republic champions had to come through three qualifying rounds on their way to the group stages, seeing off Bosnia and Herzegovina side FK Zeljeznicar 6-4 on aggregate, Estonia's JK Nomme Kalju 10-2 (agg) and NK Maribor of Slovenia 4-1 (agg).

They have already had to play 14 matches since their season started in July, compared to City’s four Premier League matches, and they go into this year’s campaign after claiming victories over Napoli and Atletico Madrid in last season’s Europa League.

Amazingly, Manchester and City have never been drawn against a side from the Czech Republic while Plzen have never faced an English side, although they did host Grimsby Town in a friendly back in 1959 under their former name Spartak Plzen, earning an entertaining 3-3 draw.

City’s Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko used to play in the Czech top flight for FK Teplice and played against Plzen on three occasions, but he will be hoping for a change in fortunes as he has a record of one draw and two defeats against Tuesday’s opponents.

 The competition’s leading goalscorer is surprisingly Plzen defender Marián Čišovský who – alongside Zenit St-Petersburg midfielder Roman Shirokov – has scored five goals in the qualification stages.

Daniel Kolar will pose another threat to Pellegrini’s side having scored three goals in his last three Czech league games, and Plzen are actually unbeaten this season having won 12 of their 14 games, scoring 40 goals already and conceding just 13 – albeit against much lesser opposition than City will pose.

However, City could choose to rest a number of key players with one eye on next weekend’s Manchester derby at the Etihad, as David Moyes’ side are set to visit in yet another early derby match – having already had a north London derby at the beginning of the month. If they take their eyes off this match too much, they could give Plzen a much needed chance in a game they should be winning comfortably if they are to be taken as serious contenders for this year’s cup.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'I felt like that was the lowest I’d ever felt'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
News
A plane flies close to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano
newsAnd yes, it's quite something
Sport
Tito Vilanova passed away aged just 45
footballThe club's former manager died in April, less than a year after he stood down
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch
artAnd it's even for a good cause
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Life and Style
techCriminals are targeting an e-reader security flaw
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
newsBut just how much does a 122-carat coloured diamond go for these days?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week