Plzeň v Partizan background

A 1-1 draw in Belgrade, and their imposing home form in the UEFA Europa League, will give Viktoria Plzeň cause for confidence as Partizan travel to the Czech Republic.

Radim Řezník (centre) after scoring Plzeň's late goal at Partizan
Radim Řezník (centre) after scoring Plzeň's late goal at Partizan ©Getty Images

Runaway Czech league leaders Viktoria Plzeň will hope to continue their fine recent home form in the UEFA Europa League, having come from behind in the first leg of this round of 32 tie to draw 1-1 in Belgrade against a Partizan team sampling European football in the spring for the first time in 13 years.

• The reigning Serbian champions qualified in Dynamo Kyiv's slipstream from Group B, winning two, drawing two and losing two of their six matches. Plzeň, meanwhile, recovered from a disappointing start to win each of their last three fixtures en route to topping Group G.

Previous meetings
• Partizan's Cameroonian striker Leandre Tawamba maintained his record of scoring in every home game in this season's UEFA Europa League proper when he gave his side a first-leg lead against Plzeň just before the hour. Radim Řezník equalised for the visitors before Partizan defender Milan Mitrović was sent off for a second booking.

• Plzeň's only previous tie against Serbian opposition came in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League play-offs, when they won 3-0 at home to Vojvodina to set up a 5-0 aggregate success.

• Partizan have lost both of their previous two away games to Czech opponents by 4-1 margins, against Sparta Praha in the quarter-final of the 1965/66 European Champion Clubs' Cup (though they won the return 5-0 and went on to reach the final) and Slavia Praha in the second round of the 2002/03 UEFA Cup.

Highlights: Partizan 1-1 Plzeň
Highlights: Partizan 1-1 Plzeň

Form guide
• Plzeň have won all four home games in this season's UEFA Europa League and their last five in the competition, scoring 15 goals at an average of three per game.

• The Czech side are unbeaten at home in the UEFA Europa League round of 32, winning one match and drawing the other two.

• This is Plzeň's fourth participation in the round of 32. They were defeated by Schalke in 2011/12 but reached the last 16 on each of their last two appearances, beating Napoli in 2012/13 and Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013/14. Their last two UEFA Europa League campaigns, in 2015/16 and 2016/17, ended at the group stage.

• Partizan have drawn five of their last seven European away games (W1 L1), the only defeat in that sequence coming in the most recent of those fixtures, 4-1 at Dynamo Kyiv on matchday six.

• Partizan are into the knockout phase of the UEFA Europa League for the first time after four group stage exits. The last season in which they successfully came through a group stage was 2004/05, when they reached the last 16 of the UEFA Cup.

• Runners-up in last term's Czech First League, Viktoria Plzeň lost to FCSB in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League but finished above the same Romanian opponents in their UEFA Europa League group, having trailed them by six points halfway through.

• Partizan won last season's Serbian Superliga. Their path to the UEFA Europa League round of 32 began in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League and has already taken in 13 European matches, making 2017/18 the club's longest ever European campaign.

• Plzeň have drawn the first leg away from home in two previous European ties and gone out both times, with Romanian opposition defeating them 4-1 in the return on each occasion – Petrolul Ploieşti in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round (first leg 1-1) and FCSB at the same stage of this season's UEFA Champions League (first leg 2-2).

• Partizan have won five and lost six of the 11 UEFA competition ties in which they have drawn the first leg at home. In this season's UEFA Europa League play-offs against Videoton they followed up a 0-0 draw in Belgrade with a 4-0 victory in Hungary. When they have drawn the first leg at home 1-1, they have won two ties and lost three.

UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Tomáš Chorý
Out: Jan Baránek, Petr Bolek, Jakub Řezníček, Filip Vacovský

In: Slobodan Urošević, Saša Zdjelar
Out: Petar Djuričković, Everton Bilher, Filip Kljajić, Theo Solomon

Links and trivia
• Partizan's Zoran Tošić played twice against Plzeň for CSKA Moskva in the group stage of the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League, scoring the opening goal past current Plzeň goalkeeper Matúš Kozáčik in a 3-2 home win.

• When in charge of the Czech Republic national side, Plzeň coach Pavel Vrba's team defeated Serbia 4-1 in a friendly on 13 November 2015 (4-1). Tošić and Partizan goalkeeper Vladimir Stojković both played for Serbia.

• Chasing their fifth championship title in eight seasons, Plzeň led the Czech First League by 14 points at the winter break having won 15 and drawn one of their 16 matches.

• Partizan's Milan Mitrović serves a one-match ban following his first-leg dismissal.

• Nemanja Miletić (No26) is available after being suspended for the first leg.

• Suspended for next game if booked: Marek Bakoš, David Limberský, Patrik Hrošovský (Plzeň); Ognjen Ožegović, Leandre Tawamba (Partizan).

Penalty shoot-outs
• Viktoria Plzeň have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.

• Partizan's record in seven UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W3 L4:
4-5 v Dynamo Dresden, 1978/79 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round
4-3 v Real Sociedad, 1990/91 UEFA Cup second round
2-3 v Sporting Gijón, 1991/92 UEFA Cup first round
4-3 v Newcastle, 2003/04 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
3-4 v Petržalka, 2005/06 UEFA Champions League play-off
3-2 v Anderlecht, 2010/11 UEFA Champions League play-off
3-4 v Zaglębie Lubin, 2016/17 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round

The coaches
• After stints as Czech Republic and Anji coach, heading the former at the UEFA EURO 2016 finals in France, Pavel Vrba rejoined Plzeň last year, having steered the club to two domestic championship titles between 2008 and 2013. Once a Baník Ostrava player and coach, he lifted the 2006/07 Slovak title as Žilina boss. He was voted Czech coach of the year five times running between 2010 and 2014.

• Miroslav Djukić was assigned a second stint as Partizan coach in June 2017, having previously occupied the position in 2007. The 48-times capped Yugoslavia sweeper played in Spain with Deportivo and Valencia, winning the Copa del Rey with both clubs and the Liga with the latter, and spent much of the last decade coaching there too. He had a short spell in the United Arab Emirates before replacing Marko Nikolić at Partizan.