Back
9.10.2020Europa League

Our Europa League opponents: Workers, legends and underdogs

The Werkself have never played against OGC Nice or Hapoel Beer Sheva. And Slavia Prague are not a familiar face on the European stage. The paths of Bayer 04 and the team from the Golden City have crossed once and that was in the Intertoto Cup in 1992/93. The Czechs won the first leg 3-0 and the second leg ended in a goalless draw. A good enough reason to take a closer look at our opponents in Group C of the Europa League. We begin with Slavia Prague in part one.
EL-Gruppengegner_1.jpg

Slavia PragUE

The club:

Founded by students in 1892, Slavia Prague is considered to be a middle-class club of intellectuals in comparison to the workers’ club Sparta Prague. In footballing terms, Slavia long stood in the shadow of the big city rivals. In the first 15 years after the introduction of the first Czech Republic league in 1993, the club finished second nine times – mostly behind the almost perennial champions Sparta Prague. One exception was in 1995/96 when Slavia were the Czech champions for the first time in 49 years with a team that included international players Jan Suchoparek, Karel Poborsky (later at Manchester United, Benfica and Lazio), Vladimir Smicer (Liverpool and Bordeaux) and Robert Vagner (Energie Cottbus). They also reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup were they lost to Bordeaux. The Prague team that traditionally plays in red and white qualified for the Champions League for the first time in the 2007/08 season. In recent years the club has again and again found itself in financial difficulties and that has forced them to sell many of their best players. They now benefit from finance from Chinese investors.

Slavia won the Czech league title for the sixth time in 2019/20 – and they were awarded the trophy at the local derby against Sparta Prague (0-0). In the play-offs for the Champions League they went out against the champions of Denmark FC Midtjylland (0-0, 1-4). Last season, the Czechs achieved two draws in Group F of the Champions League away to Inter Milan (1-1) and at Barcelona (0-0). They lost both games against the third group opponents Borussia Dortmund (0-2, 1-2). Slavia finished bottom of the group and were knocked out. But the Czechs proved they could compete with top European clubs in 2018/19. In the Europa League, they knocked out serial winners Sevilla in the Round of 16 (2-2, 4-3 a.e.t.) but then went out at the quarter-final stage against the eventual winners Chelsea (0-1, 3-4).

crop_imago0045255293h.jpg
Led Slavia Prague to the first double in 77 years in 2018/19: Coach Jindrich Trpisovsky.

The team:

The most well-known players in the team are Czech Republic goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar (25), the Romanian attacking midfielder Nicolae Stanciu (27), the Nigerian striker Peter Olayinka (24), the Ivorian Ibrahim Traoré (32) and the captain of the team, left-back Jan Boril (29). Tomas Soucek, last season’s top goalscorer, and right-back Vladimir Coufal are now playing for the Premier League club West Ham United. The Slavia Prague coach since 2017 is Jindrich Trpisovsky, a man with an interesting CV. Seven years ago, the coach, who described Jürgen Klopp as his big role model, was still working as a waiter in a gambling hall at a hotel. After coaching second division Viktoria Zizkov and Slovan Liberec, Trpisovsky finally ended up at Slavia Prague where he led the club to the first double in 77 years in the 2018/19 season. Currently, the five-time Czech cup winners are in second place behind Sparta Prague in the national league competition after six games (five wins, one draw). Sparta beat Banik Ostrava 1-0 thanks to a Stanciu penalty in their last outing.

The stadium:

Slavia Prague have played their home games at the Eden Aréna in the suburb of Vrsovice/Werschowitz since 2008. The stadium has a capacity of 20,617.

Related News

crop_20231015_B04_Frauen_vs_Freiburg_105040.jpg
Frauen - 22.02.2024

Eichin on Women's game at the BayArena: 'Provides a great platform'

The quarter-final of the DFB-Pokal will be a special highlight for the Bayer 04 Women. The team will play at the BayArena for only the second time since 2009. Bayer04.de has collected reaction to the game to be played on Tuesday 5 March (kick-off: 18.30 CET). Director of professional teams Thomas Eichin, who is also responsible for women's football at the club, explains the background to the decision and the Women's team head coach Robert de Pauw and the captain Elisa Senß talk about the anticipation of the players ahead of the clash at the BayArena. Winter signing Borja Iglesias also shares his views. The striker was a big supporter of women's football following the kissing scandal involving the former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales last summer. Borja also attended the last Bayer 04 Women's home game against TSG Hoffenheim.

Show more
crop_20240221_JS_Mitarbeiterversammlung_0067.jpg
Bayer 04 - 22.02.2024

Bayer 04 staff honour AFCON winner Kossounou

Odilon Kossounou certainly deserved this reception: At a Bayer 04 staff meeting, Fernando Carro, CEO, and head coach Xabi Alonso presented the Africa Cup of Nations winner with a special memento of his great achievement on behalf of all members of staff. The Werkself player won AFCON with Ivory Coast in the middle of February in his own country.

Show more
Sondertrikot_hero_slider_ws_1920x1080px.jpg
Bayer 04 - 21.02.2024

A first under the Cross: The special edition Bayer Sports Family shirt

The special edition Bayer Sports Family shirt pays homage to sport in the city of Leverkusen. Ahead of the forthcoming Bayer Sports Family matchday at the Werkself Bundesliga home game against Mainz 05 (Friday, 23 February, 20.30 CET), Bayer 04 Club members can secure this limited edition shirt now at the Bayer 04 fan shops and the online club shop.

Show more
crop_20231121_JS_eSports_0091.jpg
eSports - 21.02.2024

#B04eSports: Important points in battle for play-offs

The Bayer 04 eSports team this week played matchdays 30 to 32 in the 2023/24 VBL Club Championship by WOW in the business end of the season. The #B04eSports team picked up six important points in the games against Schalke 04, VfL Wolfsburg and direct rivals Fortuna Düsseldorf. The Black and Reds remain seventh in the table in the North West Division and are still in with a chance of qualifying for the finals of the German Club Championship via the play-offs.

Show more
crop_20240220_FS_Training_Lizenz_82905.jpg
Bayer 04 - 20.02.2024

Exchange of experience: Mexico coach Lozano and coaching team visit Leverkusen

There's big interest in Bayer 04 in Mexico, not least because of the involvement of former Werkself player Chicharito. The #Bayer04MexicoTour in summer 2022 also made a vital contribution to the popularity of the current Bundesliga leaders in the North American country. Since this week, the connection between Bayer 04 and football-mad Mexico has been enriched by one more aspect: Mexican national team coach Jaime Lozano and his coaching team have used their European tour to exchange experiences with those responsible at the works club, among other things.

Show more