Plzeň v Roma facts
The matchday six intrigue in Group G will centre around whether Viktoria Plzeň can pick up the points they need against section runners-up Roma to hold on to third position and claim a place in the UEFA Europa League in the spring.
• The Czech champions are on four points, level with CSKA Moskva – who they beat 2-1 in Russia on matchday five – but above them on head-to-head record. Plzeň will therefore clinch a UEFA Europa League round of 32 place if they match or better CSKA’s result away at group winners Real Madrid.
• Roma – who recorded their record UEFA Champions League victory in defeating Plzeň 5-0 on matchday two, Edin Džeko scoring a hat-trick with Cengiz Ünder and Justin Kluivert also on target – were beaten 2-0 at home by Madrid in their last fixture, but were still confirmed as group runners-up.
• Roma were 4-1 winners in the sides’ other meeting in Rome, in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League group stage. Džeko contributed another hat-trick, with Martin Zeman mustering the sole Plzeň reply.
• The reverse fixture in the Czech Republic had finished 1-1. Diego Perotti’s fourth-minute penalty was cancelled out seven minutes later by Marek Bakoš to earn the home side a point, although it was Roma who went on to win the section with their Czech opponents third.
• Having let slip a two-goal lead to draw at home to CSKA on matchday one, Plzeň then suffered their joint heaviest European defeat at Roma. They were then beaten 2-1 at Real Madrid before a 5-0 loss to the holders in the Czech Republic, Plzeň’s heaviest home reverse in UEFA competition, but bounced back as goals from Roman Procházka and Lukáš Hejda secured a 2-1 comeback win at CSKA last time out.
• The win at CSKA was Plzeň’s first in the UEFA Champions League proper since a 2-1 victory against the same opponents on matchday six in 2013/14 – their sole home success in the group stage overall (D3 L4).
• Plzeň’s 2011/12 and 2013/14 UEFA Champions League seasons both ended in the group stage after starting in the second qualifying round. This is the first time they have automatically qualified for this stage.
• In 2017/18, the Czech club lost to Romania’s FCSB in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round (2-2 away, 1-4 home). They went on to finish top of their UEFA Europa League section and beat Partizan in the round of 32, before losing to Sporting CP in the last 16 (0-2 away, 2-1 home aet).
• The CSKA draw halted Plzeň’s six-game winning streak in home European games, since that 4-1 loss at home to FCSB last season.
• The Czech champions are unbeaten at home to Italian clubs, securing notable draws against Roma and AC Milan and beating Napoli 2-0 in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 32 to complete a 5-0 aggregate success.
• Roma’s sole dropped points in this season’s competition have come via defeats away (0-3) and home (0-2) to Real Madrid. In addition to beating Plzeň, they then won 3-0 at home to CSKA Moskva and 2-1 away, the first time they had recorded three successive European victories since November-December 2009.
• Third in Serie A in 2017/18, Roma are in the group stage for an 11th time and the fourth in five years.
• Roma, runners-up in the 1983/84 European Cup, reached the semi-finals last season, losing to Liverpool. They finished top of a group including Chelsea and Atlético Madrid, before beating Shakhtar Donetsk and Barcelona in the knockout rounds – the latter particularly memorable, as a 4-1 away defeat was followed by a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico – before succumbing to Liverpool.
• The loss in Madrid on matchday one made it five successive away defeats in Europe for Roma – a run ended by the victory at CSKA on matchday four. They lost all three away matches in last season’s knockout rounds – conceding 11 goals in the process – having also gone down 2-0 at Atlético on matchday five.
• Roma won only one of their six away games in last season’s UEFA Champions League – 2-1 at Qarabağ on matchday two – and have tasted victory in only four of their last 19 European away encounters (D6 L9).
• The Giallorossi’s only other trip to the Czech Republic brought a 2-0 loss at Slavia Praha in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup quarter-final first leg; they went on to lose on away goals despite a 3-1 home win after extra time.
Links and trivia
• Džeko played in the Czech Republic for Teplice between 2005 and 2007, having a loan spell at Ústí nad Labem in 2005. The Bosnia and Herzgovina striker, who can speak fluent Czech, scored 16 goals in 43 league appearances for Teplice.
• Džeko scored away (3-0) and home (4-2) as Manchester City beat Plzeň twice in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Roma’s Czech international forward Patrik Schick played for Sparta Praha (2013–15) and Bohemians 1905 (2015/16) before moving to Italy with Sampdoria in 2016.
• David Limberský played four games for Modena in 2003/04.
• Plzeň have won four of their last ten matches in all competitions (D3 L3), including the last two; Tomáš Chorý’s first league goal for the club helped secure a 2-0 home win against Sigma Olomouc on 2 December, the summer signing having managed five goals in two Czech Cup appearances.*
• Fourteen of Plzeň’s 25 league goals this season have been scored in the last 30 minutes of games – including eight in the final 15.*
• Michael Krmenčík injured his knee ligaments in the 2-1 defeat of Slovácko on 28 October; he has undergone surgery and is not expected to play again this season.*
• Daniel Kolář (out since 2 October) has had surgery on his Achilles tendon and is likely to be out for the rest of the season.*
• David Limberský has been sidelined since matchday five, when he was substituted at half-time to a muscle injury.*
• Plzeň have announced that French forward Jean-David Beauguel will join from Zlín in January.
• The club’s official shirts for the UEFA Champions League group stage feature a logo promoting the Czech national bone marrow donors register on the back. All Plzeň’s senior and Under-19 players have joined the register.The club devoted their last league game against Sigma Olomouc to the organisation, more than 50 fans joined the register before the game.
• Roma have won seven of their last 13 games in all competitions, although none of the three (D1 L2) since a 1-0 loss at Udinese on 24 November that ended a five-match unbeaten run.*
• The Giallorossi have won only one of their last six Serie A matches (D3 L2), the 4-1 win against Sampdoria on 11 November.*
• Roma are without a clean sheet in their last seven matches in all competitions. They have conceded 18 goals in 14 Serie A games, eight more than at this stage last season at this stage.*
• Edin Džeko’s matchday three double against CSKA on matchday four made it eight goals in six matches for club and country; he has not found the net in his last seven games and has been out since the defeat at Udinese due to a thigh injury.
• Lorenzo Pellegrini (thigh) has also been out since that Udinese game, while Stephan El Shaarawy limped off on matchday five with a similar problem.*
• Daniele De Rossi has not played since injuring his right knee during the 1-1 draw at Napoli on 28 October.*
• Javier Pastore was out with a calf problem between 29 September and 20 October, when he returned as substitute against SPAL; he suffered a recurrence of the injury in the game and was sidelined until coming on as a substitute in the 2-2 home draw with Internazionale on 2 December.
• Diego Perotti (calf) also came on in that game, his first appearance since 23 September.
• On 3 December former Roma players Alison Becker and Radja Nainggolan were named in Serie A’s Team of the 2017/18 season at the Gran Galà del Calcio, organised by the Association of Italian Footballers.
*Subject to weekend updates