Slavia Praha v Barcelona facts
Slavia Praha take on another of European football’s heavyweights on Matchday 3, which brings a first ever meeting against Barcelona.
• The Czech champions have picked up one point from their first two Group F contests against Internazionale and Borussia Dortmund, and now face the formidable challenge of the five-time European champions – who have lost two of their previous six away games against Czech clubs.
• The Prague club looked set to pick up their first ever away win in the UEFA Champions League group stage thanks to Peter Olayinka’s 63rd-minute goal at San Siro on Matchday 1, only for Nicolò Barella to level for Inter two minutes into added time. Two weeks later, Dortmund were 2-0 winners in Prague.
• Champions of the Czech Republic for the second time in three years last season – their 18th domestic title – and also Czech Cup winners, completing their first double in the Czech Republic, Slavia successfully negotiated the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds for only the second time. Since their sole previous group appearance 12 years ago – when they finished third in their section behind Arsenal and Sevilla – the Prague club have lost in the preliminary rounds four times.
• Last season Slavia were beaten 3-1 on aggregate by Dynamo Kyiv in the third qualifying round (1-1 h, 0-2 a). Moving into the UEFA Europa League group stage, Jindřich Trpišovský’s side finished second behind Zenit in their section and went on to get the better of Genk and Sevilla in the knockout rounds before losing 5-3 to eventual champions Chelsea over two games (0-1 h, 3-4 a) in the quarter-finals.
• Slavia entered this season’s UEFA Champions League in the play-offs, where they beat Romania’s CFR Cluj 1-0 both home and away. Before that tie, they had won only one of their last 15 matches in the UEFA Champions League (D7 L7).
• The Prague club picked up five points in their only previous UEFA Champions League group campaign, in 2007/08, four of them against Steaua București (2-1 h, 1-1 a); they also drew 0-0 at home against Arsenal.
• Slavia have lost only two of their last nine home European matches (W4 D3), although those defeats have come in their last three contests; they kept a clean sheet in five of nine games.
• Last season’s win against Sevilla in Prague was only Slavia’s second success in 12 games against Spanish opposition. However, a 2-0 defeat at home against Villarreal in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League group stage is their only loss in their last six contests, home and away (W1 D4).
• Having been held 0-0 at Dortmund on Matchday 1 – the second successive European match in which Barcelona had failed to score, for the first time since October-November 2017 – the Spanish side came from behind to beat Inter 2-1 at the Camp Nou, Luis Suárez scoring twice in the second half including a late winner as Barcelona extended their UEFA Champions League record unbeaten run at home to 33 matches.
• However, Barça have won only four of their last 14 away matches in European competition (D6 L4).
• Barcelona have won their last four matches against Czech clubs, scoring 13 goals and conceding only one; most recently they got the better of Viktoria Plzeň in the 2011/12 group stage, winning 2-0 at home and 4-0 away with Lionel Messi scoring a hat-trick in the latter match, played at Prague’s Eden Arena – the venue for this game.
• Two of the three defeats Barcelona have suffered in their 12 previous fixtures against Czech clubs have come away from home, including a 1-0 loss to Sparta Praha in Prague in April 1992 before their current four-game winning run.
• Barcelona’s record in Prague is W3 D1 L1.
• Spanish champions for the 26th time in 2018/19, their fourth title in five years, this is Barcelona’s 24th UEFA Champions League group campaign, a competition record they share with Real Madrid. They last failed to qualify from their group in 2000/01 and have reached the round of 16 or better for the last 15 seasons.
• In 2018/19, Barcelona finished first ahead of Tottenham, Inter and PSV Eindhoven in Group B, picking up 14 points – seven of them away from home. They eased past Lyon in the last 16 (0-0 a, 5-1 h) and Manchester United in the quarter-finals (1-0 a, 3-0 h) before a 3-0 first-leg victory against Liverpool in the last four, only for the English club to turn the tables in stunning style at Anfield (0-4).
• Defeat on Merseyside ended Barcelona’s 11-match unbeaten run in the UEFA Champions League (W8 D3). They have lost only two of their last 25 UEFA Champions League fixtures (W15 D8).
• Barcelona have been European champions on five occasions, most recently in 2015.
Links and trivia
• Suárez scored in Ajax’s 2-1 away defeat against Slavia in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round second leg on 29 August 2007, two goals from Stanislav Vlček – now the Prague club’s general manager – taking Slavia into the group stage for the first time. Suárez had also played in Slavia’s 1-0 first-leg success in Amsterdam.
• Suárez was also on target for Ajax against Slavia in the UEFA Cup group stage on 17 December 2008, his 90th-minute penalty earning the Dutch side a 2-2 draw.
• Marc-André ter Stegen was in the Germany side that drew 1-1 against the Czech Republic hosts in the group stage of the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship at the Eden Arena on 23 June 2015.
• One of Slavia’s most famous sons, former captain Ferdinand Daučík, part of the Czechoslovakia side that reached the 1934 FIFA World Cup final and a winner of the Mitropa Cup four years later, was Barcelona coach between 1950 and 1954, winning two league and cup doubles. He went on to coach a number of other Spanish clubs: Athletic Club, Atlético Madrid, Real Betis (twice), Real Murcia, Sevilla, Real Zaragoza, Elche, Sant Andreu (three times), Espanyol, Cádiz and Levante.