December 6, 2012
Vrba wants birthday treat
Team Stat Comparison
|Viktoria Plzen||Atletico Madrid|
|Goals for *||2.7||1.0|
|Goals against *||0.3||1.0|
|Last 5 home||L-W-W-W-W||L-W-W-W|
|Last 5 away||D-W-D-W-L||W-L-L-W|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Viktoria Plzen | Atletico Madrid|
Viktoria Plzen coach Pavel Vrba has one wish for his 49th birthday - a positive result against defending Europa League champions Atletico Madrid.
Vrba has already guided his side to the knockout stages but they could snatch top place in Group B - and avoid the Champions League teams in the next round - with victory over the pool leaders at the Stadion meste Plzne.
Viktoria have supplied Vrba with good birthday memories before - they drew 2-2 with AC Milan in the Champions League last year - and, after admitting he was only likely to get a "useful tool or drill'' from his wife, he is hoping his team can provide a more memorable gift.
"We have been renovating our house, so my wife may give me some useful tool as a drill or something like that,'' he told www.uefa.com.
"But from my players I want a decent performance and a good result.
"A year ago on my birthday we played against AC Milan and we drew 2-2 after scoring two goals in the final minutes of the game, so I hope this time it could be the same and we will get at least a point or defeat Atletico.''
Plzen have won all five home games in the competition this season and only lost 1-0 to Atletico earlier in the group stage following a stoppage-time Cristian Rodriguez goal.
Atletico have rested their star names throughout the group stage - Radamel Falcao, Arda Turan and Diego Godin have not featured - and all three were left behind for the trip to Czech Republic.
"I have always considered Atletico to be favourites for top spot,'' Vrba said.
"They have confirmed that by spreading the load across the whole squad. However, we learned in our first game against each other that their quality is tremendous whatever their line-up.''
Speaking about his side's perfect home record this season, Vrba added: "It is an interesting statistic and we are proud of it.''
Atletico goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo has been used instead of first-choice Thibaut Courtois in Europe this season and is set to get the nod again for a match he admits represents a danger to their ambitions.
With bitterly cold conditions expected, Asenjo is preparing himself for a tough night but warned the Spaniards were determined to finish top of the group.
"It will be a difficult game and the weather is not the best for playing football,'' he told reporters.
"It will be very cold. We want to play a good game and be first in the group, so we can play at home in the second game of the knockout stage.''