Football league starts! What to look forward to in Prague? Kuchta, Pech, coach Veselý… And what about Olayinka?
photo: Vít Hassan for PrahaIN.cz/Peter Olayinka, illustration photo
FIVE HIGHLIGHTS OF PRAGUE FOOTBALL: It’s here. The most global sport, which is played by people all over the world, after a long pause, is fully underway in our region as well. There will be plenty to see in Prague, as the capital has three representatives among the elite.
Of them, Slavia is currently the best. She overwintered at the second place Fortuna with a two-point loss to the leader Viktorka Plzeň. Just like every Czech team, the stitching team will only be able to participate in domestic competitions. They were eliminated from the Conference League and only the home MOL Cup awaits them from the cups.
The league carousel will start for the Trpišovský team on Sunday at 3 pm at home against Jablonec.
Sparta is five points behind their arch-rival. He is seven points behind the leader from Pilsen in third place. although her initial behavior under coach Prisk was rather embarrassing, the fans were dissatisfied and showed it clearly, the Spartans entered the winter break in a positive spirit. After the debacle in the derby, a narrow win in Pilsen and the subsequent follow-up to success in the duels with Slovácko and Budějovice were absolutely crucial.
Sparta will travel to Hana on Saturday. The match against Sigma Olomouc starts at 6 p.m.
The third to the party are the kangaroos from Bohemians. The traditional league club certainly cannot complain about its position, but many in the club know that it could have turned out even better. Kangaroos are now in seventh position in the table. During the winter break, they did not have to add to the squad, but two key players had to be replaced without fail. Květ went to Pilsen, and Hronek went to Slavia.
Bohemians will start the second part of the league in Ďolíček against Teplice on Saturday at 3 p.m.
These matches alone are a valid invitation to the stadium or to the television screens. The Fortuna league will start after more than two months.
The editors have compiled the five biggest draws that fans of Prague’s elite teams can look forward to.
Jan Kuchta – will he release the national team striker Kraken?
The “renegade from Eden” is unrivaled at the tail end of this summer’s most sensational transfers. Kuchta wore a stitched jersey last season, and when he left for Russia, everyone somehow calculated that in the event of his return to the Czech Republic, Prague 10 would be the clear choice.
But he took it to the other bank of the Vltava.
Sparta’s representative striker, who captivated in a jersey with a lion on his chest, for example in the match against Spain, when he famously lobbed goalkeeper Simón. The Letenský club expected a lot from the player and it was no secret who would be the number one striker.
But Kuchta received a red card and a stoppage for five matches in the first league match. After his return, his performance was not remarkable, but it is not his floor. Kuchta is primarily a shooter, but he didn’t confirm that too much. He did not wave the net for the first time until the tenth round. And then he declared that: “I think that in the second half I showed that the old Kuchta is coming back and that it will improve.“
This was not confirmed to the letter. In total, Kuchta scored four league goals in eleven matches. Now he can safely say that he is acclimatized to Letná. He will also be playing for his future, as Lokomotiv Moscow is currently only on loan at Sparta, and it is no secret that the Russian club does not demand a low amount.
To buy or not to buy, that’s what it’s all about… In Sparta’s offices, this question will probably be asked very often. The forward’s performances in the second half of the season will decide that.
He can be a key player for Sparta in the fight for the title.
Peter Olayinka – the last months of the Slavic icon may have several scenarios
Icon, that’s how Slavia boss Jaroslav Tvrdík called footballer Peter Olayinka. From the highest in Eden, it must surely be of great value. And the fans of Slavia probably confirmed that the Nigerian macher won the stands almost immediately. He came to Eden from Waregem in Belgium, but he had already been involved in Dukla Prague.
Now he will finish his fifth season in Slavia.
During this time, he managed to get a respectable golden hat-trick in the Fortune League in Eden, as well as two triumphs in the domestic cup. They don’t even talk about the team’s achievements on the old continent. In addition to participating three times in the quarter-finals of the European Cups, Olayinka scored Slavia’s first goal in the Champions League in many years, surpassing the back of the Slovenian megastar Handanović.
He confirmed that he is hard to miss for the team this season as well. This was clearly seen in some of the Conference League matches, when the seamers conquered the territory of defensive-minded opponents. It was the Nigerian who, in certain passages of the game, when he struggled with it, often pushed himself to the end.
In Slavia, he has the opportunity to win the last two trophies and the Schmitec.
He has a contract until the end of the season, so whoever wanted to could sign him for free during the winter transfer window. That really happened. Peter Olayinka has signed for the Serbian big club Crvene Zvezda Belgrade, where he will meet ex-Spartan Guélor Kanga.
“He fulfilled his contract, he was part of a wonderful era. Icon. He has the right to choose his next employer according to his will. And we can only applaud and thank you. Thanks Oli,” Jaroslav Tvrdík said on Twitter.
It will be very interesting to watch Olayinka’s last months in Eden. It is a good question whether coach Trpišovský will rely enormously on the players until the end of the season, just as it is the case so far. Again, it’s no secret that Olayinka is among the absolutely key players of the red and white eleven.
However, there is a possibility that the implementation team will gradually prepare for his departure, and in a way prepare for the next year by including other players in the lineups.
David Pech – Wasn’t it early for the transfer? Talent will have a very hard time
Even if the player does not reach the same reputation and quality as the two above, this does not in any way diminish the attractiveness of watching his actions. The footballer of the year 2002 is the new reinforcement of Slavia from the winter transfer period.
The pupil of Mladá Boleslav really surprised that he chose the station at the address U Slavie 1540/2a, because he was a supporter of the opponent from an early age and often came to Letná as a fan. However, these days, clubism is not played much anymore and it is also true that no concrete offer came from Sparta.
Pech was already talked about as a great talent in the youth categories of Mladá Boleslav.
“I was immediately interested. He caught my attention as a striker by scoring goals. I said we have to take him immediately, I immediately went after him. At first he started commuting to Boleslav twice a week, then more and more. I knew right away that he was a talent. He was immediately integrated into the squad, immediately scoring goals. We had to get such a player, there was already interest in him at that time. Even his parents were a little afraid to let him go to Prague, so that he wouldn’t get bored there,” coach Milan Šíp, Pech’s first coach at FKMB, recalled for PrahaIN.cz.
But in professional football, Pech shifted his focus to a winger, under Hoftych most often a back or halfback. However, coach Trpišovský sees precisely in his universality.
“David is a versatile player, he can play in several positions, he has played almost all of them in his career. His most typical contribution is in the middle of the field, but now he started mainly in the right-back position, he will also play on the left, in short, a universal,” coach Slavie Trpišovský introduced the players on the club’s website.
There is no doubt about the talent. However, it will be exciting to see if the twenty-one-year-old player manages to integrate into the best squad of the Fortuna league vice-champion.
I also have a completely legitimate question as to whether it was too early for such a transfer.
Jaroslav Veselý – a huge shift for a coach with minimal league experience
Of course, the green and white club from Ďolíček must not be missing in the editorial selection of the biggest draws of the Prague part of the Fortuna league. Especially coach Jaroslav Veselý. Half a year ago, we would not have even imagined that we would be looking forward to his performance.
The coach had a very difficult time, he was not very popular among the fans and many called for his dismissal. Veselý replaced coach Luďek Klusáček, to whom he had been an assistant until then. This was his first ever major league engagement in the position of captain.
Until then, he trained at most in the second league.
And honestly: it was obvious. Although the Bohemians did not do well and only narrowly escaped the worst, they only saved themselves in the play-off in the league. In any case, it is obvious that the “new” in such a short time, apart from the initial impulse, cannot do much with the team. We’re talking about media output and his overall body language. He didn’t look too much like a league and dignified coach.
But that changed significantly in the new season. Veselý is still humble, but overall, his press releases and interviews have significantly improved. He is much more confident and simply performs very well. He also showed that he is a big nice guy when he was a guest on Peter the Saint’s Tiki-Taka show.
We are looking forward to it.
Bohemka is also doing very well. Seventh place is an achievement and does not have to be the top. Although the coach prefers to tame his emotions: “Twenty-two points from the fall give us the opportunity to play for what we would imagine in the spring. We are in the quarter-finals of the domestic cup, that’s what we wanted too. We have it very well played out, but we are cautious, we are on our toes. We can count, we are six points away from the play-off spot. On the other hand, we are two points away from fourth place,” he said at the press conference before the start of the second half of the season.
The game construction of Bohemians is not a masterpiece, but it is actually quite simple. Visibly but very purposeful, Sparta and Pilsen took away two points, Slavia also had problems, but took the full number of points away from Ďolíček. But other things were also discussed in the match, namely the questionable decision of the video referee. The club then filed an official protest.
The fans – the twelfth player and the driving force behind everything
It wouldn’t be possible without them.
The twelfth player and the reason why all football is actually played. That they are indispensable was confirmed to the letter during the pandemic, when the stadium gates were closed and games were played without an audience. Just look at any footage from that era and you can judge for yourself.
So far, Sparta reigns supreme with an average of 13,194 spectators per match. Slavia has an average of only fifty less. An average of 5,039 people found their way to Ďolíček na Bohemko.
A dignified and boisterous atmosphere can certainly be expected at all matches of Prague clubs.
That is, except for Sparta, where the main creators of the atmosphere from the cauldron continue to protest against punishments against fans from their own club (more info). For the first home match, the sector behind the gate will be empty again and organized cheering will be absent. We will monitor the whole situation between the club and the fans.
At least the Spartans will enjoy going out and cheering in large numbers on Saturday.
The guest sector in Olomouc can be expected to be sold out.