Having notched away from home, Plzen will be feeling pretty good about their chances of qualifying for the last-16 ahead of this fixture. Despite going a goal behind last week, Pavel Vrba’s side stuck to their task and showed strong character to get themselves back in the game. A 1-0 loss away from home would’ve made life very tough for the Czech side, but the goal scored by Radim Řezník in the 81st minute really did change everything. It is now the Czech’s who’re on the front foot.
Having had a golden opportunity when going a goal up last week, Partizan let themselves down by getting a man sent off and ultimately surrendering their lead. It’s now hard to see the Serbians progressing to the next round. Backing the hosts to come out on top makes plenty of sense, even if they’re a side who’re somewhat unreliable. ‘Plzen to Win & Both Teams to Score’ also stands out as a secondary option.
Plzen may not be at their best when playing away from home in continental competitions, but they’re no easy side to face on their own patch. Prior to this fixture, the hosts have won each of their last five Europa League games on home soil and have scored a remarkable amount of goals in doing so. During the group stages, Vrba’s side scored no less than nine goals in front of their own fans. They’ll look to get on the front foot and have plenty about them in the final third, as the likes of Lugano and FCSB found out earlier in the competition.
Defensively, the hosts can be slightly wobbly; they were breached at least once by both Lugano and Hapoel during the groups, though they managed to outscore both of those sides with relative ease. Even a Partizan side who struggle for goals on the road in Europe could profit on the break in this one, but the home side will very much fancy themselves to outscore the visitors.
If Plzen’s recent home record in this competition bodes well for them, then so does the visitors’ recent away record. Partizan failed to win any of their three away matches during the group stages. Thursday’s visiting side did only lose once on the road during the groups, but they really struggled going forward, as they scored just twice and created little in the way of actual scoring chances.
Even on their own patch, it was easy to get the impression that Partizan would be inferior to Plzen in an attacking sense, had the visitors really stepped through the gears. A draw (and an away goal) suited Plzen on that occasion, but now with their own fans behind them in force, the Czech side are expected to overpower their Serbian counterparts.
All things considered, though the visitors should not be completely ruled out, the hosts simply look a better bet and, even if they need to outscore the visitors to do so, can come out on top having secured a pleasing result in the first-leg.
Head To Head
Last week’s first-leg, which ended 1-1, was the first time that these teams have met on a football pitch.
Viktoria Plzen vs Partizan Belgrade Stats
- Plzen have conceded at least once in four of their last five home wins in the Europa League.
- Plzen currently have a 100% record when playing at home in the UEL this season.