Grp H: Plzen v BATE Borisov

Plzen striker Marek Bakos is chomping at the bit for the clash with BATE Borisov to get under way as the Czechs play their first ever Champions League group game.

Football News:BATE Borisov

Plzen have never before progressed this far in European competition but their reward for winning six successive matches from the Champions League second qualifying round was to be drawn in Group H alongside superpowers Barcelona and AC Milan.

BATE are also in the pool, and the two outsiders meet tomorrow in the Czech Republic with Bakos, who scored six goals in qualifying, eager to get going.

"Like most of the guys, this will be my first time in the group stages," said Bakos on www.fcviktoria.cz.

"I'm very much looking forward to it and I'm very impatient. I want the referee to blow his whistle."

The 28-year-old is not taking anything for granted, however, despite his side's good form so far in the competition, or the fact that BATE do not have the history or reputation of either holders Barca or seven-time European champions Milan.

"We have to keep both feet on the ground, because now the opponents will be even better," he said.

"First of all we must recognise that they (BATE) have been playing in Europe for a few years. So it's a team that has plenty of experience. Although the public may not be as attractive as teams from the west, but they certainly have quality. They will be a very tough opponent."

Bakos warmed up for the fixture with an eventful domestic game against Sigma Olomouc on Friday, when he scored twice in the opening nine minutes of the 3-2 win before being sent off just before half-time.

That victory left the reigning Czech champions in sixth spot in their domestic standings with 10 points from six games, five points behind leaders Sparta Prague.

In their last home match Plzen suffered a 2-0 defeat to Sparta - ending their 30-match unbeaten league record in front of their own fans.

Like Plzen, BATE also came through the qualifying stages to get to this point, beating Linfield, Ekranas and Sturm Graz.

This is the second time BATE will be taking part in the group stages, having finished bottom of their pool in 2008/09 after being handed another tough draw with Real Madrid, Juventus and Zenit St Petersburg making up the opposition.

In reaching the groups three years ago BATE beat in the third qualifying round a Levski Sofia side that included current Plzen defender David Bystron, and he recalled of the Belarus side: "They are extremely tough competitors.

"I hope that the game will be sold out and that our fans will once again drive us forward."

BATE go into the game having drawn 0-0 in the league with second-placed Shakhtyor Soligorsk on Friday, leaving them nine points clear at the top of their domestic standings.

BATE are without the injured Vitali Rodionov, Evgeni Kuntsevich, Dmitri Likhtarovich and Aleksandr Pavlov, while Plzen are missing goalkeeper Roman Pavlik.



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