Synot Liga 2015/16: A preview of the Prague-based football clubs
Football is back in Czech Republic - Synot League kicks off this weekend!
The Synot Liga is back this weekend with a vengeance as Czech football fans dust off their season tickets and head to the turnstiles.
It's that time of year when fans across the country dream of winning the league or reaching the cup final, although, if you support Slavia Prague, just achieving positive goal difference would be a reason to celebrate.
With the action kicking off this weekend it’s the perfect time for Prague.TV to give our predictions on how their season will pan out for the local sides.
Sparta will be eager to wrestle the title back from Viktoria Plzeň after fading at the crucial stage last season. But they will have to do so without the talent of ‘Czech Player of The Year’ Pavel Kadeřábek. The 23 year-old right back left for German side Hoffenheim over the summer and leaves a gaping hole on the right hand side of defence.
Meanwhile, the draw for the UEFA Champions League qualifying round has served up a tough looking tie against CSKA Moscow so a lucrative group stage windfall has taken a dent before a ball has even been kicked. Perhaps placing a bigger onus on domestic success?
The Spartan’s website lead with the advert “Built for Brilliance” and they will need to be above brilliance to advance past CSKA Moscow.
The ever-reliable David Lafata will miss the beginning of the campaign with injury, so Sparta will be relying on new signing Marco Paixao to hit the ground running. Six goals in pre-season suggests he will.
Prague.TV prediction: Champions
The famous red and white of Slavia look up against it this season as turmoil behind the scenes threatens to overshadow their season before a ball has been kicked.
The club announced their financial results earlier this month and its paints a grim picture. Commitments to sell their best players and unpaid training camp bills hang over the club. Nevertheless, Slavia will start the season with Milan Škoda in the squad and will be banking on the 29 year-old repeating his goal scoring heroics of last season.
Dušan Uhrin Jr in the Slavia dugout is another positive the fans will cling to. The former Plzeň and Dinamo Minsk manager is an excellent coach and he will need to be to squeeze the most out of this squad. But the question remains can he do it amid the backdrop of an unpredictable and unpopular boardroom?
The club will be smarting from a lowly 11th placed finish last season when they weren’t even the best team in Vršovice. Although Slavia have proved they can beat anyone on their day and given that the teams from 5th to 16th in the league are very much on a level playing field – why isn’t a good season on the cards? We remain cautiously optimistic and predict a top half finish.
Prague.TV prediction: 7th place
Every neutrals favourite club are a model of consistency and stability. Dukla, however, will need to start the season on the front foot, which looks a difficult task with Sparta and Plzeň to play in the opening five matches, to avoid being sucked into a scrap at the lower end of the table.
Nevertheless, they have enjoyed some excellent pre-season results with victories over Celtic, Olympiakos and Teplice. Dukla look like a comfortable mid table club who should have another enjoyable season in the top tier. But they will miss the services of 6ft defender Roman Polom who returns to Sparta Prague after his loan spell.
Watching the Synot Liga at the Juliska Stadion on a sun-drenched evening in August has to be one of the highlights of the season - If not for the football on show, then for the view of the Prague skyline and the best klobasa in the city. For that reason alone we hope Dukla finish in a respectable top half position.
Prague.TV prediction: 8th place
Bohemka surprised everybody last term with an impressive end to the season when they picked up 15 points from a possible 21 – what’s even more remarkable was the 3-2 win over champions Viktoria Plzeň and the 1-1 draw at Letna on the final day of the season.
This season, however, will no doubt be another struggle as key midfielder Jakub Rada left for Mlada Boleslav and this aging side is another year older.
The green and white of Bohemka maybe over shadowed by the history and prestige of neighbours Slavia but the Bohemka fans certainly have more to sing about and their home support often leaves the Stadion Ďolíček rocking.
What the club lacks in quality they make up for in character and spirit. Bohemians 1905 may struggle to win football matches on a regular basis but they should be safe enough to enjoy another season in the top flight.
Prague.TV prediction: 12th place
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