Tuesday 17 September 2013 | Stadion Eden, Prague | Kick-off: 1945 | Coverage on Sky Sports 2
Referee: Paolo Tagliavento (ITA) Assistant Referees: Mauro Tonolini (ITA) , Lorenzo Manganelli (ITA) Additional Assistant Referees: Andrea De Marco (ITA) , Paolo Valeri (ITA) Fourth official: Nicola Nicoletti (ITA)
Vincent Kompany could return from a groin injury. Martin Demichelis is out with a knee injury. David Silva, Gael Clichy and Micah Richards are all doubtful.
City have only kept 2 clean sheets in their last 12 Champions League matches.
City have won 50% of their European fixtures (P84, W42, D20, L22).
City have started both their previous campaigns on the back foot, taking just one point in total from their first two fixtures in 2011/12 and 2012/13.
More about Plzeň
Plzeň’s only previous group stage campaign came in 2011/12 when they finished third in a group containing FC Barcelona, AC Milan and FC BATE Borisov. At home, they lost to Barcelona but held Milan and BATE.
Plzeň won all six games in UEFA Champions League qualifying, repeating the feat of their only previous group stage campaign in 2011/12.
Central defender Marián Čišovský scored five goals across the three rounds making him the top scorer of the qualification phase alongside FC Zenit’s Roman Shirokov.
Plzeň are yet to win a group stage game at home in the UEFA Champions League, recording two draws (1-1 v FC BATE Borisov and 2-2 v AC Milan) and a 4-0 loss to FC Barcelona in 2011/12.
This will be the first time the Štruncovy Sady Stadión will stage UEFA Champions League football. The side played their home games at the Stadion Eden, home of SK Slavia Praha, during their previous campaign.
Plzeň have conceded 47 goals in UEFA competition.
Six Plzeň players were called up for senior duty during international break: Tomáš Hořava, David Limberský, Václav Procházka, Daniel Kolář (Czech Republic), Michal Ďuriš and Matúš Kozáčik (Slovakia).
Kolář has scored in each of his three league appearances this season, including the opener in Friday’s 1-1 draw away to third-placed FC Slovan Liberec.
Plzeň are unbeaten after eight rounds of the Czech First League, recording six wins and draws against the other two teams in the top three: Liberec and AC Sparta Praha.
Čišovský has missed the last three league games due to a calf injury.
I think that all groups are difficult. It would be a big mistake to think that playing a team with less history in Europe would be easier to play. And one thing is sure, that last season when the draw took place, Milan and FC Zenit St Petersburg were happy to be drawn against Malaga, and they felt they’d already qualified for the next round. But Malaga then went on to win the group. So it is the same now, this season.
This is my fifth year in the Champions League and I am very happy about my last campaigns. It is not easy to make it with a team like Villarreal and reach the semi-finals, or to make it to a quarter-final. The same happened with Malaga when we managed to make it into the quarter finals.
I think that the most important aspect is to make the players feel that they have the capacity, and feel the confidence to compete against teams at the same level, considering all the tactical aspects. But I have always repeated the same sentence to my players if we are eliminated in the Champions League, then it is because we faced a team that was superior to us and who played better than us and not because they faced a bad team and were eliminated without any effort
So it has been three years now that the club hasn’t done well in Europe, and I think that if we want to qualify, we have to respect Viktoria Plzen, CSKA Moscow, and Bayern Munich the same way, and will try to put in our best performance to beat them.
Pavel Vrba, Plzeň Manager
Manchester City is one of the top clubs in the world and we are aware that we will not go into the match as favourites. I am quite sure they won’t be scared of us, but we are determined to fight for every inch of ground.
Compiled by Robert Toole