Gambrinus Liga 2011/12

The Czech football season is due to kick off again this weekend with current holders Viktoria Plzeň hoping to defend their title against no fewer than FIVE Prague-based teams in this year’s top-flight.

Either I’ve been busy, or lazy, or both, but I was quiet over the summer recess. I even forgot to follow up on Plzeň’s maiden Gambrinus Liga title, Czech Supercup victory, and current battle to reach the the lucrative Champions League group stages. So here’s some cathartic viewing for all you west Bohemians:

1 Viktoria Plzeň 30 69
2 Sparta Praha 30 68
3 Jablonec 30 58
4 Sigma Olomouc 30 47
5 Mladá Boleslav 30 46
6 Bohemians 1905 30 43
7 Slovan Liberec 30 43
8 Hradec Králové 30 41
9 Slavia Praha 30 40
10 Teplice 30 39
11 České Budějovice 30 33
12 Slovácko 30 31
13 Příbram 30 31
14 Baník Ostrava 30 30
15 Brno 30 24
16 Ústí nad Labem 30 19

Sadly this means we say goodbye for at least one year to Brno (Czech’s second city I should add) and Usti, who, no disrespect (best football cliche), gave it their best shot. In their place return Viktoria Žižkov and Dukla Praha – both very curious additions. More about Dukla soon. In the meanie, I should spend the rest of the week updating my stats and graphs. Can’t wait.

Do toho.

Cup tie abandoned after Slavia Praha violence

A pitch invasion by disgruntled Slavia fans caused the abandonment of the first leg of their cup semi-final against Sigma Olomouc on Thursday (5/5/11). The exasperated mob invaded the corporate areas of their own ground, ransacking the executive boxes in an attempt to find some answers regarding the club’s arcane ownership structure and precarious future.

Slavia Praha violence

The Czech FA have not yet granted Slavia a license for the Gambrinus Liga next season as a result of their ugly balance sheet. The prospect of being ignominiously dumped in the 3rd tier next season was seemingly too much for the unruly assemblage yesterday, who underlined their displeasure by breaking stuff and loitering on the field of play.

Michal Petrák has a more detailed account of the Slavia Praha fiasco on the new and rather splendid Slavic Football Union site.

Gambrinus League Title Is Plzeň’s To Lose

The chase for Czech football’s Gambrinus Liga title has ignited following yesterday’s key fixture between first and second placed Viktoria Plzeň and Sparta Praha. In front of a packed out Štruncovy Sady stadium, Plzeň nicked a 1-0 victory in an absorbing encounter which leaves Sparta trailing the west Bohemians by 5 points in the table.

The match was won by Pavel Horvath’s scintillating freekick in the 16th minute, which was correctly adjudged to have cleared the goal-line having cannoned off the crossbar.

The win leaves Plzeň as favourites for the title, and with a superior head-to-head record over Sparta, which will see them victorious should the two clubs finish the season level on points.

Viktoria Žižkov Punx and Skins

My Czech football allegiances are a complicated business. The whole point is that Czech football is a cheap and unequivocally splendid way to spend a few hours in Prague, and I always gravitate to the nearest match where there is a chance of a beer and a sausage. That said, I would be a fraud if I didn’t admit to harbouring sympathies for some clubs and malignity for others, but that’s for me to worry about.

Rarely does a trip to Czech come to pass without a Sunday morning pilgrimage to Viktoria Žižkov, some of the reasons for which I have alluded to previously. I was a patron for most of the 2006 spring season when my buddy Erik and I would kick back in the Sunday morning sunshine nursing mild, Primus-induced headaches as Žižkov pushed for promotion back to the big leagues. Sealing what was already a triumphant event to wake up to was the half-time soundtrack. There is no need to shut out the chart-topping scrub pop or cleansed anodyne rock dirge at Žižkov. The musicman here plays to his audience, which as luck should have it is almost exclusively thick-necked, crusty barflies from around the way.

At Žižkov you get nothing but blisteringly mellifluous rock-chug, spanning 80s power ballads to thrash metal to dualling five-minute guitar solos reverbed all the way up to 11. In addition there are a couple of fist-pumpingly catchy Žižkov anthems thrown into the mix that stay true to the preferred genre, and are guaranteed an airing throughout each and every home game. It was in the internet hunt for these tunes that I stumbled across these belting punk rock homages to Viktoria Žižkov below. Any football institution that arouses a punk following has got my back, and thus my love for Žižkov has been cemented.

I found another tune by the second band, Orlik, called ‘White League’ which aroused my anxieties somewhat. With punk bands these things can go either way and I had rather hoped that they were more of the Minor Threat ‘Guilty of Being White’ school than the Nazi-punk way of thinking. It turns out they have a problem with the Czech Roma, which is a shame but I much prefer the S.A.D. number anyway. I looked into them too and they have another song which looks as though it glamourises the Czech football hooligan scene, so it seems as though all Czech punks are brutes and savages.

If anybody is aware of any left wing Czech football related punk tunes then post in the comments below. (Apart from Half Man Half Biscuit, naturally).

Czech Football Resumes

Jablonec stole the Czech football headlines at the weekend with an emphatic 3-0 derby victory over former 2005/6 champions and north Bohemian rivals Liberec. Czech international David Lafata was the hero as he bagged himself a hattrick, keeping Jablonec’s faint championship hopes alive.

I was particularly excited that Lafata may have scored the perfect hattrick*, but on closer inspection of the shoddy Czech sports production it looks as though his first two goals are both off his right foot, which is a real shame:

League leaders Plzen recorded a home win over Hradec Králové, while Sparta kept pace away at Ostrava.

*left foot; right foot; header.