Viktoria Plzen went into the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League knowing they would be the whipping boys in Group C, with the Czech outfit losing all five games so far while retaining a goal difference of -17. But their fortunes have been better in domestic football as they are at the top of the table, with Slavia Praha four points behind.
Following a crucial last-second win over Valencia to keep pace with Real Madrid in the La Liga title race, Barcelona makes a return to European action as they take a long trip to Czech Republic for their final match in the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League against Viktoria Plzen in the group stage finale.
Barcelona will be disappointed with how the Champions League group stage has turned out. The Catalan giants have failed to make their mark for a second successive season, beating only Viktoria Plzen thus far.
It will take a while to fully recover from the emotional trauma of this Champions League season after all the promise and excitement created in the summer was followed by a truly horrible group stage campaign that added to the list of Barça’s European embarrassments in the last half-decade.
Xavi will make big changes to his team and some fringe players will get crucial minutes to prove themselves, so even if the match means nothing in the grand scheme of things it could be a real game-changer at the individual level.
The likes of Franck Kessie, Raphinha, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati will benefit greatly from big performances in this one, and Barça Atlètic youngsters Pablo Torre, Marc Casadó, Ilias Akhomach and Álvaro Sanz are hoping for a dream chance to play for the first team on an European night.
Viktoria Plzen v Barcelona possible line-ups
Barcelona (4-3-3): Peña; Bellerín, Piqué, Alonso, Alba; Kessie, De Jong, Gavi; Raphinha, Ferran, Fati
Viktoria Plzen (4-2-3-1): Stanek; Havel, Hejda, Pernica, Jemelka; Kalvach, Bucha; Jirka, Vlkanova, Pilar; Chory