Viktoria Plzen vs Maribor
Viktoria Plzen will try to seek a good result tonight in order to be safe for the reply and qualify to the groups of the Champions League. Currently they are in great form, as they passed easy the previous two rounds. They won over Zeljeznicar from Bosnia with the scores of 4:3 at home and 1:2 away, and then with two another easy wins against Nomme Kalju from Estonia with the scores of 0:4 away and 6:2 at home.
They are chasing their second participation to the groups of Champions League after the 2011-12 season, and they count only wins in qualifying rounds of CL where they scored a sum of 34 goals. Their coach Pavel Vrba stated that Maribor is a team on the rise and they are playing with the same style like Plzen before two years. Attacking midfielder Daniel Kolar is sidelined with an injury, while key defender Vaclav Prochazka returns to the main eleven after suspension.
Vladimir Darida, Plzen’s most expensive player, will play in the center of the midfield line, with Frantisek Rajtoral to the right and Jan Kovarik in the left. Viktoria Plzen has lot of options in the attacking line, with Marek Bakos, Tomas Wagner (3 goals in 5 games) and Tecl Stanislav (1 goal in 5 games).
Maribor wants to maintain their hopes to qualify to the groups of Champions League for the first time since the 1999-2000 season and the second time in overall. They qualified to the playoff round after not convincing with their performance. They drew away to Maltese Birkirkara 0:0 and won 2:0 at home, and then they qualified over APOEL of Cyprus with a 1-1 away draw and a goaless draw at Slovenia.
Their coach Ante Cacic stated that they are ready for the match against Viktoria Plzen and they will fight until the end to qualify, and generally Maribor is optimistic for the double games against Plzen. Key defensive midfielder of Maribor Zeljko Filipovic is suspended, but there is no other worries for Maribor. During summer Maribor signed only three players, right winger Damjan Bohar (Mura 05), striker Mendy Jean-Philippe (Luka Koper) and midfielder Amir Dervisevic (Krka Novo Mesto), while they lost some valuable units in defense.
Lot of options for Maribor in attack too, as they have Jean-Philippe Mendy (4 games, 4 goals), Damjan Bohar (4 games, 3 goals), Tavares (4 games, 3 goals), Nusmir Fajic (5 games, 3 goals), all in great form, at least to the games of Slovenian league where they are sitting comfortable to the first position in the standings.
May Maribor looks good in Slovenian league where they are scoring with ease and performing well, but European football is a different story and they struggled to score goals to their last two games even against Maltese Birkikara. Plzen in great form, scoring with ease too, but have problems in defense as well. I think that the fact that Plzen is more experienced now in CL, will play a role to the final result.