Slavia Prague visit the Ceramica on Thursday, level on points with Villarreal after a 1-1 draw at Astana and a 1-0 home win versus Maccabi Tel Aviv. From the Submarine’s viewpoint, an ideal result would be a win here while Maccabi and Astana draw in the Kazahstan capital.
Slavia Prague are currently lying second in the Czech first division, eight points behind Viktoria Plzen. Their roster is dominated by local players, among them strikers Škoda and Necid, who have both played for the Czech national side. They have a smattering of “overseas” talent—you might remember Portuguese midfielder Danny, who played for Zenit St. Petersburg for many years, and Halil Altentop, a veteran Bundesliga player and Turkish international—but they are in their mid-30s and generally come off the bench if they appear at all.
Coach Jaroslav Šilhavy is another local (well, from Pilsen) and he played as a defender for 20 years in what were then the Czechoslovakian leagues, becoming an assistant manager for the Czech Republic in 2001 and coaching in the Czech league since 2007.
Villarreal’s record against Czech teams in Europe is very good (5-2-0) with three wins in three tries in Vila-real. Three points from this match is really a must for us.