Viktoria Plzen vs Real Madrid Preview
Holders Real Madrid seek to continue turning around their season when they visit Czech champions Viktoria Plzen Wednesday at 3 pm EST. A victory would be an important step to qualifying to the knockout rounds for the Spanish giants. The visitors currently sit atop group G tied on six points with AS Roma.
Despite losing in the reverse fixture two weeks ago, Pavel Vrba’s team will feel more confident at home. Not only did Viktoria almost earn a draw last time, but also they are aware of their opponent’s current struggles. Under new coach Santiago Solari, Madrid still look vulnerable besides winning their last two games.
‘Los Blancos’ continue to be without defenders Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Dani Carvajal and Jesus Vallejo due to injury. Nevertheless, splendid performances by substitutes Alvaro Odriozola and Sergio Reguilon have removed defensive concerns. Likewise, Nacho will fill in for Varane at center back. Although Vinicius Jr. scored his first goal on the weekend, the Brazilian will most likely start the match on the bench.
Viktoria have only one player missing for Wednesday’s contest. Forward Michal Krmencik is out for the rest of the year after damaging knee ligaments. However, defender Lukas Hejda and midfielder Jan Kopic have recently returned from injury providing options for their manager. Jakub Reznicek will most likely fill in for Krmencik with goals being needed more than ever if the Czechs plan to progress out of the group.
Lineups and Prediction
Viktoria Plzen: Kozacik; Reznik, Hejda, Hubnik, Limbersky; Hrosovsky, Prochazka; Havel, Cermak, Petrzela; Reznicek
Real Madrid: Navas; Odriozola, Nacho, Ramos, Reguilon; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco, Bale, Benzema
Lots of questions surround Madrid’s current form. Since being hammered 5-1 by bitter rivals Barcelona, their defense has not conceded once. Rather, it’s in attack that the three time champions struggle. Wednesday’s visit to Doosan Arena will provide further insight on Solari’s improvement of the team or lack thereof.
The hosts are in a do or die situation at the moment. As a result, Vrba’s men will give everything they’ve got in front of their home fans. Although Plzen sit atop the league domestically, success in the UCL has evaded them. As a matter of fact, in seven European matches at home, the Czech’s have achieved victory only once.
This lack of home field advantage makes it hard to predict an upset against their illustrious visitors.
Viktoria Plzen 0 – 3 Real Madrid
Photo credit to Real Madrid via Flickr