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UEFA Champions League Preview: CSKA Moscow v Viktoria Plzen

Viktoria Plzen travel to Russia for the first time in European competition on Wednesday to face CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League.

The game will take place in Zenit St Petersburg’s Petrovsky Stadium due to the state of the pitch at CSKA’s Arena Khimki and both sides will be looking to get their first points of the campaign following defeats on the opening matchday in group D.

CSKA lost 3-0 away at holders Bayern Munich, while Plzen went down by the same margin at home to Manchester City.

Both sides will be aware of the importance of this game if either are to qualify for the second round or, at worst, finish third and earn a spot in the last 32 of the Europa League.

The hosts have used Zenit’s stadium on 12 occasions in the past 10 years with mixed results, winning five and losing five of those matches.

Pavel Vrba’s Plzen have been much more consistent on their travels and they arrive in Russia on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run – including five wins – on the road in Europe.

CSKA’s only previous meeting with Czech opposition came three years ago when they earned four points from their matches against Sparta Prague in the Europa League group stage.

Leonid Slutsky’s side are winless in their last three Russian Premier League games, including Saturday’s 2-0 reverse away at Terek Grozny, and they currently sit in fourth place, five points adrift of leaders Zenit.

Alan Dzagoev and Seydou Doumbia are doubts with hamstring injuries, while Aleksandrs Cauna will be out until November with a fractured toe.

CSKA will be hoping for a change in fortunes in front of goal, as they have gone 279 minutes without scoring in all competitions.

Plzen, unbeaten after 10 games in the Czech Liga, had suffered a similar goal drought – 272 minutes – until Frantisek Rajtoral’s opener in Friday’s 2-1 win at Vysocina Jihlava. That result left Vrba’s side in second, four points behind Sparta.

The manager revealed that David Limbersky is a major doubt for the game after sustaining a thigh injury on Friday, while defender Radim Reznik returned in the same match and could feature.

Mon 30 Sep, 2013
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