Prague, Czech Republic – Viktoria Plzen and Slavia Prague were respectively drawn against Dinamo Zagreb and Genk for the next round of the Europa League. While not an easy draw by any means, the two Czech sides and only remaining Central European teams in European competitions avoided the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Napoli and Valencia.
Slavia Prague joined Viktoria Plzen, who qualified by finishing third of its Champions League group, in the next round of the Europa League after a stunning 2-0 victory over Zenit Saint Petersburg at Prague’s Eden Arena last week. It is the first time since 2013 that two Czech teams have qualified for the round of 32 of the Europa League.
On February 14, Viktoria Plzeň will host unbeaten Dinamo Zagreb at the Doosan Arena while Slavia Prague faces Belgian side Genk in Prague. Return legs will take take place on February 21 in Croatia and Belgium.
Currently first and second of the Czech First League, Slavia Prague and Viktoria Plzeň will face off a few days later in a much anticipated game at the Doosan Arena in Plzeň on February 16. Slavia Prague won the first leg 4-0 in Prague in September.
In recent years, the two sides have been challenging the rule of Sparta Prague, owned by billionaire Daniel Kretinsky. Currently fifth, Sparta is the most successful team in Czech First League history, having won more than half of league titles since 1993, but has not won the league since 2014.
Cross city rivals Slavia Prague are owned by Chinese conglomerate CEFC China Energy.