Santiago Solari faces his first taste of European football as a manager, as the Spanish giants travel to the Czech Republic.
With half of the Champions League group stage games done and dusted, matchday four brings a clearer shape to Europe’s top competition as the best pull ahead of the rest in the race to qualify for the knockout rounds.
In Group G though, it is still anybody’s guess as to who will make it into the last-16 as holders Real Madrid, Roma and CSKA Moscow all chase the top two spots.
Santiago Solari – taking charge of his first Champions League game – knows that a win will keep his Los Blancos side in prime position to progress but will be wary of opponents Viktoria Plzen, who could throw themselves back into the race with a win themselves.
Defeat however and victory for Roma would see the Czech Republic outfit eliminated with two games to spare.
Having fallen just short in the 2-1 return fixture a fortnight ago , Pavel Vrba’s side will hope to go one better on home turf and claim a shock win – but does the might of Madrid offer too much for them to handle?
|Game||Viktoria Plzen vs Real Madrid|
|Date||Wednesday, November 7|
|Time||8:00pm BST / 3pm EST|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport ESPN and livestreamed on BT Sport Live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport ESPN||BT Sport Live|
Squads & Team News
|Position||Viktoria Plzen players|
|Goalkeepers||Kozacik, Hruska, Svacek|
|Defenders||Hejda, Hubnik, Limbersky, Reznik, Hajek, Havel, Pernica|
|Midfielders||Prochazka, Horava, Zeman, Kopic, Petrzela, Hrosovsky, Bucha, Cermak, Ekpai|
Viktoria Plzen XI: Hruska; Reznik, Hejda, Hubnik, Limbersky; Prochazka, Hrosovsky; Havel, Cermak, Kopic; Chory.
|Position||Real Madrid players|
|Defenders||Ramos, Nacho, Odriozola, Reguilon, Javi Sanchez|
|Midfielders||Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, Llorente, Isco, Ceballos|
|Forwards||Benzema, Bale, Lucas Vazquez, Asensio, Vinicius Jr|
Madrid caretaker Solari takes charge of his first Champions League encounter, and has chosen Thibaut Courtois ahead of Keylor Navas in goal for Wednesday’s match.
Jesus Vallejo, Dani Carvajal, Marcelo and Raphael Varane all remain sidelined, while Vinicius Junior remains on the bench and Luka Modric is also rested for the clash.
Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Odriozola, Nacho, Ramos, Reguilon; Ceballos, Casemiro, Kroos; Vazquez, Benzema, Bale.
Betting & Match Odds
With Julen Lopetegui’s tenure officially consigned to the history books following his disappointing start in charge of Real Madrid, the Champions League holders now must look to turn their season around and rediscover their form of old.
Their 2-1 victory at home to Viktoria Plzen just over a fortnight ago gave them their first win in six games across all competitions but proved to be the briefest of reprieves for Lopetegui before his dismissal.
Solari is the man who has been tasked with filling the position of manager on an interim basis and the 42-year-old – a member of the Madrid team who lifted the Champions League in 2002 against Bayer Leverkusen in Glasgow – will be keen to make his mark in charge.
Karim Benzema is likely to start up front once more, despite not having found the net for eight games for Madrid, but Solari has backed his striker to deliver, hailing him as ‘incredible’ .
As for Plzen, they have only managed to muster a single point so far in Group G following a 2-2 draw against CSKA Moscow; they were subsequently drubbed 5-0 by Roma before their defeat to Los Blancos.
Like Madrid, they come in on the back of a win, having claimed a 1-0 victory over Banik Ostrava to earn a measure of revenge for their defeat in the Czech Cup to the same opponents four days prior.
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Despite the absence of the injured defensive trio of Raphael Varane, Daniel Carvajal and Marcelo , Plzen boss Pavel Vrba remains wary of the La Liga outfit, warning his side that they have quality in spades.
“Real Madrid still has a huge quality even though they miss any player,” the manager said in his pre-match press conference.
“I think Madrid’s game is clear. They always want to control the game and dominate. We will aim to surprise them.”