Although they were drawn from Pot Four, Czech champions Viktoria Plzen are not be taken lightly.
City only have to look back as far as last season when the Pilsen-based outfit ruthlessly dispatched Napoli 5-0 on aggregate in the Europa League round of 32 to see the danger.
Pavel Vrba’s side saw off the challenge of Maribor in the final play-off round to book their place in the group stages.
In his playing days, Vrba was a defender who was part of the Czechoslovakia team that reached the final of the 1982 European Championships.
Though it’s fair to say his club career never hit these same lofty heights, Pavel has earned a reputation as one of his nation’s most intelligent tactical innovators and has worked his way up from youth coaching to the Champions League on his own steam.
He was named Viktoria Plzen boss in 2008, won the Czech cup in his second season and claimed the Czech coach of the year prize in his third after winning the title for the first time in the club’s history.
Viktoria Plzen are two-time champions of the Czech league and are making their second UEFA Champions League appearance in 2013/14. Last season they reached the Round of 16 in the UEFA Europa League where they were eliminated by Fenerbahce.
They topped a group which included reigning champions Atletico Madrid and knocked out Napoli.
Last time they were in the Champions League they finished third in a group containing Milan, Barcelona and BATE Borisov.
Best UCL finish:
Group stages: 2011/12
Štruncovy Sady, 11,700 capacity.
Veteran midfielder Pavel Horvath has been at Plzen for five years and, at the ripe old age of 38, continues to prove his worth for the Czech champions.
He was named Personality of the Year at the Czech Footballer of the Year awards in 2010 and was a key figure in their first-ever title winning year of 2011 when he weight in with eight goals.
He has won 19 caps for the Czech national team.
Our official travel provider Thomas Cook Sport will be offering supporter packages to follow the team during the UEFA Champions League group stages. For more information click here.