In Sports News this Monday: Viktoria Plzeň face CSKA Moscow in Champions League tie to decide third spot and Europa League place; Dušan Uhrin Jr quits Dinamo Tiblisi, prompting speculation he may take over as Plzeň boss; Czech clubs are set for new ice hockey European Trophy; and Sparta celebrate 110 years with victory.
Plzeň face CSKA Moscow for spot in Europa League
While the rest of the players in the Czech soccer league are already enjoying the winter break, title holders Viktoria Plzeň are facing one final, crucial game before the holidays – a Champions League tie against CSKA Moscow. With neither able to qualify from the group, Tuesday’s game at Štruncovy sady will be a direct playoff for third spot and a place in the second-rung Europa League in the New Year. Plzeň have zero points in their group after five games and the Russians hold the advantage after winning the reverse tie 3:2 in Moscow to take their only points. However, a 1:0 or 2:1 win, or any win with a margin of at least two goals, would see the West Bohemians claim third spot. That would surely represent the perfect sendoff for coach Pavel Vrba; he is set to be officially presented as Czech national team manager on Thursday.
Uhrin set to replace Vrba as Plzeň coach?
One name being discussed as a possible replacement for Vrba is Dušan Uhrin Jr. Uhrin, who is 46, is now available after standing down as coach of Georgian side Dinamo Tbilisi, who he led to their first league title in five years. In a statement on their website, the club thanked the coach, who they said had received “an interesting offer”. However, neither Plzeň nor Uhrin have confirmed a deal and the club are not expected to reveal their new manager until the end of next week at the soonest.
Czech clubs set for new European hockey tournament
Czech ice hockey clubs are set to take part in a new equivalent of football’s Champions League that will get underway in August. Sparta, Pardubice, Liberec and Vítkovice have guaranteed places in the European Trophy, which will feature 26 clubs from six countries. The winners of the domestic Extraliga and whichever club tops the table at the end of the regular season will also qualify for the competition.
Sparta celebrate milestone with win
In the Extraliga leaders Sparta Prague are still 10 points ahead of second-placed Hradec Králové following the weekend’s 29th round. Sparta confirmed their superiority over their rivals with a 4:2 victory over Plzeň on home ice that also served as a celebration of 110 years of the club’s existence. Hradec Králové beat Karlovy Vary 2:1 in an encounter that was decided by penalties. Meanwhile, the most exciting game of the round saw Slavia Prague beat Pardubice 5:4 on the road.
Krejčí makes two assists as Boston beat Toronto
Across the pond, Czech centre David Krejčí made two assists in a 5:2 away win for Boston Bruins over Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. The 27-year-old has now picked up points in six of his last eight outings in the NHL.