Stories and pictures of the beautiful game.
FC Viktoria Pilsen vs. FC Vysočina Jihlava 1:0 (1:0)
November 26, 2012 | attendance 9,862 | pictures
I can highly recommend a train ride from Prague to Plzen, it takes about 90 minutes to travel those 100km southwest. You’ll pass Bohemian forests, remote villages with their rustic little football pitches, Karlšteijn castle (a popular tourist destination in the vicinity of Prague) and the Berounka river. The river with its bends and small cliffs is a smaller version of what you get to see when traveling between Dresden and Prague.
Over the last couple of years Viktoria Plzen made a big leap in Czech football: they won their first league title in 2010/11 and got to play FC Barcelona and AC Milano in the following Champions League campaign. They finished third in that group and finally lost to FC Schalke 04 in the Europa League.
Viktoria had to play their home games in Prague, though because their home ground Stadion města Plzně did not comply with UEFA requirements. That has changed – the stadium is now entirely rebuilt: not long ago, the stadium was a mighty main stand and some small open terraces built around a running track. The only thing that remained is the main stand; the pitch was moved closer towards it and surrounded by three fancy new roofed stands that make the stadium a pretty little gem for 12,500 spectators. Of the two high and mighty floodlight pylons, only one remains, but the club added a few smaller ones.
If you want to get a really good view of the city and the stadium, climb to the top of the St. Bartholomew cathedral. Be aware that you will need to be in a bit of shape, the spire is the highest in the Czech Republic (102m/335ft) and you will pass through never ending stairwells. If you think you should be up there now, a new, smaller stairwell magically appears. The view from the top is well worth the effort, though, and the stadium looks best at night, when drenched in floodlights.
Viktoria is also at the top right now: in their Europa League group and in the Czech league. To stay there, they would need at least a draw against newly promoted FC Vysočina Jihlava who had a pretty good start in the season. 9,862 spectators were interested in today’s match – which is even a little below Plzen’s recent average. The Ultras behind the goal create a good atmosphere from the start and manage to get the other parts of the stadium going as well, the sounds of “Viktoria!” – “Pilsen!” echo quite nicely under the new roof.
The visitors fire the first real warning shot of the game but only hit the post after a corner in the 12th minute right in front of the small group of away fans. About ten minutes later, Viktoria’s aim is just a little better: they score the lone goal of the night with a header. Jihlava are very active and dangerous in the second half but can’t beat the keeper, Viktoria misses out on a several good counter attacks.
From behind the goal you can hear: “Viktorka Pilsen schalalalala!” (another quick grammar lesson: Viktorka is not a typo but the diminutive form of Viktoria), but the Ultras seem to be the only ones interested in singing during the second half. Every once in a while a drumbeat echoes from the away section.
During the entire game, the stadium is filled with the smell of malt – the brewery is literally next door to the stadium and there is probably as pipe connecting the two for direct access. After the final whistle, the malt scent is complemented by sulfur and black powder: the home fans light a few torches to celebrate the win and the fact that their team is sitting at the top.
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