Fc Barcelona vs Viktoria Plzen: September 7th sees la Blaugrana begin their charge for a 6th UCL title in what would be an entertaining match vs Czech champions Viktoria Plzen. It may seem an easy game for the Catalan giants but Viktoria Plzen have their hopes set on being the tournament’s dark horse and maybe pulling out a surprise.
With the unrelenting fixture schedule coming up ahead, Xavi will start rotating his players starting from the midweek game. According to Mundo Deportivo, Xavi plans to bench his four key players in the opening game of the Champions League. Ronald Araujo, Gavi, Eric Garcia, and Dembele are expected to start the match from the bench against Viktoria Plzen.
Eric Garcia has had a brilliant start to the season and even scored his first career goal on Saturday against Sevilla. However, the 21-year-old had to come off with discomfort soon after that. He later confirmed in his post-match interview that there is no injury concern and he’s doing well.
Gavi was on fire against Sevilla and Xavi has decided to rest the youngster considering his high work rate. Gavi on average makes 23.85 pressures per game, one of the highest at Fc Barcelona as per to FBref. The 18-year-old has also started four games and has played 293 minutes in total. Frenkie de Jong is expected to replace the teenager in the middle of the park.
Ousmane Dembele, another player Xavi has given four starts is expected to be rested. The Frenchman has played 304 minutes so far and Ansu Fati or Ferran Torres could get the nod in the attack for the first Champions League clash.
2. A look at Viktoria Plzen
Viktoria Plzen have brought in no less than 14 players this summer, including new signings, free transfers, and players returning from loan spells. Michal Bilek is their coach who took over the team in 2020. The former Czech international has had a spell at Real Betis as a player.
Colombian winger Jhon Mosquera, Jan Sykora, and striker Thomas Chory are the attacking trident for Viktoria. The Czech side lost last season’s top scorer Jean David Beaguel this summer to Saudi Professional League club Al-Wehda, this season Mosquera is leading the way with seven goals and six assists.
3. Head to Head
Fc Barcelona have a perfect winning record against Plzen. Both sides have met twice previously, in the group stage of the 2011/12 Champions League season. The Catalan giants finished at the top of Group H with Plzen coming in third behind second-place Milan.
Fc Barcelona won the home game 2-0 at Camp Nou, courtesy of the goals from Andrés Iniesta and David Villa. In the away game, a hat-trick from Leo Messi and a goal from Cesc Fàbregas sealed the win for the Garnet and Blue.
The return group stage game will be played at the Doosan Arena on November 1st at Stadion Mesta, formerly known as the Plzne, with a capacity of 11,700 spectators.