Viktoria Plzen welcome 13-time European champions Real Madrid to the Doosan Areana in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The Czech champions enter the fixture as underdogs with Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric are all expected to start. Viktoria Plzen are winless so far in Europe and a victory for Real Madrid would all but guarantee their place in the knock-out stages.
How to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Wednesday 07 November|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||20.20 (GMT)|
|Where Is it Played?||Doosan Arena|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport|
Vinicius Junior came off the bench on the weekend against Valladolid to rescue his team, helping Los Blancos to a 2-0 win. The exciting Brazilian youngster has certainly impressed his new manager Santiago Solari and will be pushing to make his first start since joining Real Madrid in the summer. Isco may also return to the front three following Bale and Marco Asensio's poor display at the weekend.
One area where Solari has few options is in defence. Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Jesus Vallejo and Marcelo are all ruled out for the game therefore meaning Nacho Fernandez and youngster Sergio Reguilon will likely feature again.
For the hosts, striker Michal Krmencik is unavailable after being ruled out for the rest of the season following a knee injury last week. Jakub Reznicek is expected to take his place. On the positive side defender Lukas Hejda and midfielder Jan Kopic have both been declared fit following recent injuries.
|Barcelona||Kozacik; Reznik, Hejda, Hubnik, Limbersky; Hrosovsky, Prochazka; Havel, Cermak, Petrzela; Reznicek|
Head to Head
Last month's meeting at the Bernabeu was the first time these two teams have ever met in a competitive match. Then Los Blancos manager Julen Lopetegui witnessed his side grind out a tough 2-1 win after Patrik Hrosovsky scored for Viktoria Plzen with just ten minutes left. Despite some late pressure the goal wasn't enough after Benzema and Marcelo had given Real Madrid an early two goal lead.
This will be Los Blancos' first trip to the Czech Republic since November 2001. On that occasion they managed a 3-2 against Sparta Prague, their only win in six attempts in the country.
Viktoria Plzen have only ever managed one win against Spanish opposition and that was against Real's neighbours Atletico Madrid in a 2012 Europa League Group Stage fixture.
Following their 5-1 defeat against Barcelona in the El Classiso, Real Madrid fired coach Lopetegui and replaced him with former reserve coach Solari. Since then they have won two games and kept two clean sheets, albeit against inferior opposition. They beat fourth division side Melilla in the Copa del Rey 4-0 before winning 2-0 at home to Valladolid.
Los Blancos have won two out of their three opening Champions League games with their only defeat coming away to CSKA Moscow. A win here would keep them top of their group and favourites to progress.
Viktoria Plzen on the other hand enter the fixture in a poor run of form. They were knocked out of the Czech Cup last week and have only managed two wins out of five games in all competitions. They have also failed to win any of their three Champions League group games this year.
Here's how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:
|Viktoria Plzen||Real Madrid|
|Bohemians 2-2 Viktoria Plzen (19/10)||Real Madrid 1-2 Levante (20/10)|
|Real Madrid 2-1 Viktoria Plzen (23/10)||Real Madrid 2-1 Viktoria Plzen (23/10)|
|Viktoria Plzen 2-1 Slovacko (28/10)||Barcelona 5-1 Real Madrid (28/10)|
|Viktoria Plzen 2-3 Banik Ostrava (31/10)||Melilla 0-4 Real Madrid (31/10)|
|Banik Ostrava 0-1 Viktoria Plzen (03/11)||Real Madrid 2-0 Valladolid (03/11)|
Real Madrid, despite their awful run of form to end Lopetegui's tenure, should have too much quality for Viktoria Plzen and this should see them take all three points and control of Group G.
The hosts will be hopeful that a hostile home ground may be enough to see Real Madrid slip up again like they did in their last away game on the continent against CSKA Moscow. Yet despite that defeat, Los Blancos have only lost four of their last nineteen games in Europe, suggesting they should still be too good for Viktoria Plzen to handle.
Prediction: Viktoria Plzen 0-3 Real Madrid