PRAGUE: Czech champions Viktoria Pilsen are looking to add Manchester City to their collection of beaten giants when the two teams clash in their Champions League Group D opener today.
Pilsen beat Atletico Madrid in the Europa League group stage last season before sweeping Napoli in the last-32, and they are hungry for more while being aware City may be a harder nut to crack.
“They’re an English team, playing more physical football,” said defender David Limbersky, playing his sixth season for the current Czech top-flight leaders.
“They have a number of players from abroad and their quality is immense, but we believe in our own strength and maybe Manchester will underestimate us a bit.”
Big-spending City, sitting fourth in the Premier League with seven points from four games, owe their fans a Champions League success after failing to get past the group stage in the last two seasons.
“Now we have two years of experience. We have an even stronger team and we hope to go through,” City striker Stevan Jovetic, acquired from Fiorentina before the season, told the uefa.com website.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini bemoaned injuries plaguing his defence after his team had stumbled to a goalless draw at Stoke City on Saturday.
“We have four of five injured players that are important. From the back four, Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany and Gael Clichy are out, and David Silva is out as well,” he said.
Besides, Argentinian defender Martin Demichelis has been ruled out for several weeks with a knee injury.
Pellegrini said Kompany, the team captain, could make it back in time for the Pilsen tie.
“We’ll see with Vincent what happens, we’ll talk with the doctor, with the player, and we’ll see if he can play on Tuesday,” Pellegrini said.
His Pilsen counterpart Pavel Vrba has similar problems when it comes to defence.
Pilsen missed injured Slovak stalwart Marian Cisovsky and right-back Radim Reznik in Friday’s 1-1 draw at Slovan Liberec while Cisovsky’s replacement Lukas Hejda limped off during the game. AFP