An interesting league is the Czech Premier Division. Although there are 16 teams in this competition, it is usually a two horse race. Sparta Prague, or Viktoria Plzen. On this occasion, the former took the plaudits, dropping just 11 points in 30 games, a record for the league. They amassed an incredible 79 points, 13 more than Plzen could manage, who played in the Group Stages of the Champions League this season.
Despite the lack of competition at the top, it is a good league. Outside of the top 2, Mlada Boleslav and Slovan Liberec, as well as Teplice, are very good outfits who do well in Europe. Liberec were in the Europa League group stages last season, and did well. Here are the main points from the season:
Champions – Sparta Prague (Champions League Quals), 2nd – Plzen (Europa League Quals)
3rd/4th – Mlada Boleslav / Slovan Liberec (both various stages of Europa League qualifiers)
Relegated – Znojmo, Sigma Olomouc
Promoted – Ceske Budejovice, Hradec Kralove
Sigma Olomouc have been in the top division ever since its formation some 20 seasons ago – this is their first relegation. They may feel a little disappointed, as Slavia Prague and Bohemians were just a point ahead. Znojmo were in their debut season, and were pretty poor for most of it. A highlight perhaps was a 5-5 draw with Jablonec. In the league, each game averaged 2.8 goals – so not a great deal of boring games!
Here are the top 3 scorers:
- Josef Husbauer – 18 (Sparta)
- David Lafata – 16 (Sparta)
- Zbynek Pospech – 16 (Dukla Prague)
Another man who deserves a mention is Stanilas Tecl of Plzen – despite only 12 goals, a decent effort, he was instrumental in their push for the title and exploits in Europe. A fine young player!
Both promoted teams have experience of the top league before, so will know what it takes to stay up, despite having problems doing just that in the past. The season kicks off in 4 or 5 days and what is good to see is that there have been no managerial changes, everyone has stuck with what they had, which is rare! Hopefully another good season in store, and lets hope that Liberec or possibly Teplice make a push for the top 2.