Prague, Czech Republic – Czech champions Slavia Prague travel to Italy to take on Inter Milan this evening in their UEFA Champions League Group F opener. It is the first time the two sides meet in a European contest, but Slavia have lost all six past games in Italy. Inter has never lost at home to a Czech club (W2 D1).
Inter are heavy favorites
Off to an auspicious 2-0-0 start in Serie A, Inter are heavy 5/14 home favorites (29/4 to win) as reported by MyTopSportsbooks.com. Slavia is making just its second-ever appearance in the Champions League, it’s first since 2007/08, and is rated nearly 100 spots behind Inter in 538’s global power ranking. That said, Inter is not the most prolific team in terms of goal-scoring and Slavia has conceded just two goals in eight domestic matches this year. Taking the Czechs +1.5 at 5/6 odds looks to be decent value.
FC Barcelona travel to Borussia Dortmund in the other game of what has been dubbed the ‘group of death’.
“Very exciting few months ahead, people shouldn’t be writing us off!” says Youth Coach Jonathan Davies, interviewed by Kafkadesk. “It will be tough but qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League must be the aim,” he adds.
Check out Slavia Prague’s reaction when they find out their Champions League opponents:
Incidents surrounding racial abuse
Slavia Prague travel to Milan amidst incidents surrounding racial abuse received by by Inter striker Romelu Lukaku. An Italian television station fired yesterday one of its pundits after he made a racist comment about the former Manchester United player. Speaking on TopCalcio24, Luciano Passirani said “if you go one-on-one with him he will murder you. The only way to come up against him is maybe give him 10 bananas to eat…”
The former Manchester United player was also recently subjected to monkey chants by Cagliari fans when he scored a penalty for his side in a 2-1 victory earlier this month.
It is unclear whether the Inter striker will play this evening or not.
Slovan Bratislava and Ferencváros kick off Europa League campaigns
On Thursday, the Slovak and Hungarian champions will kick off their respective Europa League campaigns. In Group H, Budapest-based Ferencváros travel to Barcelona to take on Espanyol with both teams making their Europa League debut. In the meantime, Slovan Bratislava, the first and so far only club of the former Czechoslovakia to win a European cup competition, host Turkish side Beşiktaş in Group K.
Earlier this month, the vice-president of the Slovan Bratislava, and son of the businessman and owner of the football club Ivan Kmotrik, was convicted of racism and fined for doing a Nazi salute during a match last year. A court in the Slovak city of Banska Bystrica fined Ivan Kmotrik Jr. 5,000 euros after he was caught on camera doing a Nazi salute in May 2018.