19-02-2001

By Peter Smith

The Czech football season resumed at the weekend after its winter break. The spring will be a strange one for the veteran striker Horst Siegl, who made his debut for his new team Marila Pribram on Friday after his shock exit from Sparta Prague the previous day.

The 32-year-old had been hoping to stay at the Letna Stadium until the summer and had dreamed of collecting his 12th championship medal at the club. Siegl rejected an offer from Prague's smallest club, Viktoria Zizkov, only last month, but admitted that he had still felt unwanted at the champions. "I felt pressure from Sparta to get rid of me," he said, "I thought that I would have more opportunities with Hasek, the Sparta coach - but I was wrong."

Well, at least it was a winning start for Siegl at Pribram. Marila recorded an impressive victory at their top-of-the-table rivals Teplice on Friday, with Siegl setting up the first goal in a 2-1 win. The result means that Marila Pribram leap-frog Teplice to move into 3rd in the Gambrinus League. Olomouc remain second after their 3-0 home win over Chmel Blsany. Sparta and Slavia are both in action on Monday.

Also in football, there were fine performances by some of the foreign-based Czech stars this weekend. Most notable was Jan Koller's hat-trick for Anderlecht in the Brussels' giants 4-1 victory over Harelbeke - a result that puts the champions seven points clear at the top of the Belgian league.

Tomas Rosicky finally began repaying some of his multi-million DM transfer fee by starring in Borussia Dortmund's 4-2 victory over Bundesliga rivals SV Hamburg - the Czech even laid on the home side's third goal for German international Freddie Bobic.

Finally, the Czech Olympic medallist Katerina Neumannova was fighting back the tears this weekend as a viral infection forced her withdrawal from the Nordic Skiing Championships in Lahti, Finland.