Viktoria Plzeň will travel to Milan knowing they face their toughest assignment yet, although their job has been made a bit easier as the Rossoneri have a treatment table full of players. Pato, Ibrahimovic, Gattuso, Ambrosini, Robinho and Kevin-Prince Boateng all have injuries and are doubtful for Wednesday’s clash.
The most significant injury is Pato’s – here is a player with the pace of Usain Bolt and an eye for goal like Pele. In just over 100 games for Milan Pato has weighed in with 62 goals. His first strike in the game against Barcelona came after just 24 seconds and was eye wateringly good; imagine the fun the 5ft 10 Brazilian could have against a Plzeň backline?
Milan have made an uninspiring start to the season domestically, The Rossoneri notched up their first win of the campaign this weekend at the fourth time of asking – beating lowly Cesena 1-0 at the San Siro. “Cassano did well, he is developing and needs to keep doing so. If Ibra and Ambrosini are completely fit then they will play on Wednesday but we won’t risk them. We will see.” said Milan coach Massimo Allegri after the game.
Whilst Viktoria Plzeň are considered huge underdogs on Wednesday night, I remain cautiously optimistic that Milan will be in for a tough night. A front three of Emanuelson, El Shaarwray and Cassano is much less daunting than Ibra, Robinho and Pato and given Milan’s slow start to the season it could be the ideal time for the trip to Italy.
Back in the Czech Republic and Viktoria Plzeň suffered a horrible result when drawing 0-0 with whipping boys České Budějovice. Pavel Vrba named a strong side for Friday’s league match and still fired blanks, not the ideal preparation for AC Milan. But this game will have been quickly forgotten as plans are being made for Milan.
The Czech side has enlisted the help of fashion designer Borivoj Kluge and had new suits designed for the trip to the fashion capital of Europe. Kluge designs suits for a lot of top atheletes including Czech national team general manager Vladimir Smicer – a Czech who has happy memories of playing AC Milan – a lucky omen perhaps?
Captain and club joker Pavel Horvath sounded pleased with his new attire “At first glance it is clear that this is a very good suit, modern style. The fact that they introduce this for the first time in a city that is proclaimed fashion, has a certain symbolism.” Horvath then joked “So I just hope that half of the younger guys will go in the afternoon to look for appropriate dress shoes.”
It will be an interesting midfield battle on Wednesday night in Milan, the talismanic and putty faced captain Pavel Horvath looked off the pace against FC Bate Borisov, how will he fare against Seedorf and Van Bommel? As much as it’s painful to say it, the Champions League is a step too far for Horvath. I watched him look sharp and comfortable last weekend against Jablonec, but I can’t help but fear that he won’t get a kick of the ball at the San Siro.
But what Horvath lacks in pace and stamina he more than makes up for with humour and experience, which can only be a positive for the rest of the Viktoria Plzeň team and the dressing room.