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Champions League Preview: Viktoria Plzen v Barcelona
The Catalan side travel to the Czech Republic for the return match against Pavel Vrba's outfit after winning the previous encounter two weeks ago by a 2-0 score at Camp Nou
By Martin Macdonald
Limbersky, Bystron, Cisovsky, Rajtoral
Petrzela, Jiracek, Horvath, Kolar, Pilar
Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Abidal
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Messi, Cesc, Villa
Roman Pavlik is still out for Viktoria Plzen after suffering a serious knee injury and has not played a match since July 27.
Barcelona are still without long-term absentees Ibrahim Afellay and Alexis Sanchez, who are still shelved with a cruciate knee injury and a hamstring problem respectively.
Cesc Fabregas is set to make his return in the Champions League after his hamstring strain and may be selected in the 'false 9' role in attack.
Pedro will miss the game with a knee injury after coming off in the Liga win against Granada a week ago.
Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique paired together for 20 minutes in the weekend win against Mallorca but it is unlikely that Pep Guardiola will risk both for this away encounter. Pique may get the nod to partner Javier Mascherano at the back.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- The game between Viktoria Plzen and Barcelona two weeks ago was the first time in history that the sides have faced one another.
- The Czech outfit are unbeaten in four home Champions League matches this season.
- Prior to this season, Viktoria Plzen had only played two European home games in their history; a loss against Bayern Munich in 1971 and a draw with Besiktas last season.
- If BATE Borisov fail to beat AC Milan and Barcelona win this match, Pep Guardiola's side will qualify for the knockout stage.
- Barcelona have lost just one of their last seven European away fixtures.
- The Catalan club's away record against Czech teams is two wins, a draw, and two losses.
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Top 3 Predictions
FC Viktoria Plzeň 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 21.4 %
FC Viktoria Plzeň 0-4 FC Barcelona
- 18.07 %
FC Viktoria Plzeň 0-5 FC Barcelona
- 17.16 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 1, 2011||FC Viktoria Plzeň 0 - FC Barcelona 4|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 19, 2011||FC Barcelona 2 - FC Viktoria Plzeň 0|
|FC Viktoria Plzeň|
|Mar 14, 2013||Fenerbahce 1 - FC Viktoria Plzeň 1||EL|
|Mar 7, 2013||FC Viktoria Plzeň 0 - Fenerbahce 1||EL|
|Feb 21, 2013||FC Viktoria Plzeň 2 - SSC Napoli 0||EL|
|Feb 14, 2013||SSC Napoli 0 - FC Viktoria Plzeň 3||EL|
|Dec 6, 2012||FC Viktoria Plzeň 1 - Atletico Madrid 0||EL|
|Returns:||Viktoria Plzen £810.00||Sign up today with BetVictor and get a £25 FREE BET!|
|Returns:||Draw £810.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Barcelona £11.30||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
The goalkeeper was the best player in his side in the last match against Barcelona. He was kept extremely busy all night but acquitted himself well and made a couple of smart saves, and a cracking stop from Lionel Messi. He will need to be on this kind of form again if his team are to have any chance of emerging with anything from the contest. However, even with this, he will still need a lot more protection.
Messi grabbed a hat-trick at the weekend within the first 30 minutes against Mallorca, and he was outstanding versus Plzen in the last Champions League meeting two weeks ago. You wouldn't put it past the Argentine putting in a performance of the same calibre in this match.
Lionel Messi was the Goal.com Top Of The Match against Plzen in their last encounter, and this was a completely warranted accolade. The Argentine was in scintillating form, and the Czech side were extremely lucky to come away from the match only having lost two goals. With Messi grabbing a hat-trick and Barcelona winning 5-0 at the weekend, you cant see anything but complete domination from the tournament holders.