Plzen and Prague battle it out for Czech football superiority
Plzen continue to push as Prague hosts big derby – Czech Football League preview
The Czech football League returns this coming weekend (18.2) from its winter break as Viktoria Plzeň continue to lead the pack in search of a third successive league title.
Elsewhere Sparta host Bohemians in the Prague derby in one of a number of exciting matches. Having secured 36 points from 15 games and possessing the tightest defence in the division, Roman Pivarník’s Plzen team will be quietly confident of success this season. His side sit one point above Slavia Prague with a game in hand, however Slavia will be able to temporarily move top as they host second from bottom Jihavla at 4:30. Slavia will be relying on a Plzen slip up but that seems unlikely as bottom club Příbram make the 60km journey to face the league leaders at 6:45.
The early kick-offs on Saturday see eighth play tenth as Slovacko host Jablonec, with Zdenko Frťala’s men sitting only one point behind their opponents. Elsewhere Teplice welcome Brno to Na Stínadlech knowing nothing short of a win will do if they are to retain any hopes of a late surge into the top four. The away side will always feel they can score goals though with joint top scorer Michal Skoda in fine form this season with 10 goals.
On Sunday two teams level on points come to blows as Hradec Králové see Dukla travel to the Všesportovní stadion with both sides still in contention for relegation. Sitting on 16 points and occupying 12th and 11th spots in the table respectively, this game could prove crucial come the end of the season. Another side still very much in with a shout of at least a top four finish is FK Mladá Boleslav. Leos Kalvoda has guided his team to fifth in the table, three points off Zlin in fourth and only eight points off the league leaders. His team travel to seventh place Karvina at 2:00pm on Sunday.
Arguably the game of the weekend though sees Sparta Prague take on Bohemians 1905 in the Prague derby. Prior to the winter break Sparta had been on a great run, unbeaten in their last five league matches, winning four. Sparta have the league’s leading scorer in David Lafata, the 35 year old bagged 20 goals last season and is on course to repeat the feat with 10 goals thus far. The club has been occupied since the break however, with a Europa League campaign ongoing and friendly matches played to keep fitness levels up. Sparta took four points off Bohemians last season with the Prague 10 club looking for revenge against their bitter rivals. Both clubs have differing aspirations this season with Sparta looking to take the title away from league leaders Viktoria Plzeň. On the other hand Bohemians would like to improve on last season’s respectable ninth place finish, a position they currently occupy.
The final match of week 17’s fixtures is 13th hosting fourth as Liberec welcome Zlin to Stadion u Nisy. Zlin have been in fine form this season, way surpassing expectations after a 13th place finish last season saw them avoid relegation by only three points. The side could head into Mondays game outside the top four though as a win for Mladá Boleslav would see them leapfrog the Moravian side, albeit only temporarily. Liberec are another side in desperate need for points as Jindřich Trpišovský’s team sit only two points above 15th place Jihlava in the relegation places.
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