Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Czech Republic & Germany September 2012
Three games in the Czech Republic starting with Plzen in the Europa League and a trip to Berlin to see Union play Cologne.
20th September Viktoria Plzen 3 Academica 1 Europa League 10,845
This game turned on a goalie error when Ricardo failed to hold a Horvath header when under pressure.
Plzen then had the initiative and they added two more headers to win comfortably.
Earlier the Portuguese visitors had led when Wilson Eduardo converted and for a while it looked like Academica with the backing of about 200 fans might keep control.
But once Viktoria were level and hence had the momentum there was only going to be one winner.
The local ultras kept up their support though the ground was not quite full for this third taste of the Europa League for Plzen.
The city itself is famous for being the home of the Pilsner brand.
And it has a pleasant centre with a market where I sampled some of the local produce.
21st September Union Berlin 2 Cologne 1 2. Bundesliga 16,750
I took the train via Prague to Berlin to see Union in their partly rebuilt stadium.
Currently there are three sides of the ground in use as the main stand is under construction.
Some 1,000 fans represented Cologne and they were packed into a section of one end.
It started well for the visitors who were awarded a penalty after just three minutes from which Broker scored.
But that was the high point for Cologne as first Brazilian Silvio forced in an equaliser and then later their captain Mattuschka’s left foot shot secured the win.
It was a game of few clear cut chances but plenty of noise.
The banners from the fans suggested they want to preserve the terraces and you could see why with such an atmosphere.
I took the S-bahn back to my hotel.
22nd September Pribram 1 Ceske Budejovice 1 Gambrinus League 1,960 (12 away)
An early train back to Prague and a couple of changes to get to Pribram.
Where the town was quiet on this Saturday to go with a quiet, low-key encounter.
(The barman who served my hot wine beforehand assumed I was going to the hockey stadium)
The stadium is on the western edge of town and it comprises 3 stands, two covered either side and a semi-temporary one at one end for the away fans.
I expected more than twelve to be supporting Ceske.
Not for the first time the man who was the focus of attention was the well known anti-hero Tomas Repka.
Within six minutes he had committed his first foul and on seventy he was booked but then, after the home goalie had mishandled a cross, he was there to drive in the equaliser.
Pribram had led when Strihavka nutmegged a defender for Trapp to convert but they couldn’t get another and in the end Ceske deserved a point in a game of few chances.
I trekked back to the centre and eventually found a restaurant that was open.
23rd September Dukla Prague 0 Slavia Prague 0 Gambrinus League 4,122
The Juliska stadium has various iconic features including the large swathes of unused terrace, the buildings at one end and the views of Prague.
Dukla produced a newspaper programme with a retro feel to go with the retro ground.
And wouldn’t it have been special to be transported back to the 60’s to see the likes of Josef Masopust in action.
Slavia probably had most of the support including many fans mixed in with the home supporters in the seats.
The away ultras had a small section of their own near the front.
Two good chances were spurned by Preucil of Dukla and Latka of Slavia and a definite handball was missed.
Apart from that neither side got very close even though the second half was more open.
It got cooler later and I made a brisk walk back to the tram followed by some local restaurant fare whilst watching the hockey highlights on TV.
more pictures at http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/1473267055