Czech Republic Football

Visit Prague Pitches: Expats.cz takes a look at football (soccer) clubs in Prague and the Czech Republic

Nick Young

Written by Nick Young Published on 28.04.2009 12:28:23 (updated on 28.04.2009) Reading time: 5 minutes

Football, along with ice-hockey, is the most popular sport in the Czech Republic. For a country of ten million, the Czech Republic has a relatively successful national team and is currently ranked 13th in the FIFA rankings. The Czech domestic league system consists of two divisions, both with 16 teams competing. The bottom two teams from the top division are relegated and replaced by the top two teams from the 2nd division at the end of each season.

Prague itself has several teams to choose from. The most famous and successful being Sparta Praha and Slavia Praha, who have traditionally dominated the domestic competitions. However, there are other clubs in Prague. FK Viktoria Žižkov and Bohemians (Střížkov) are both playing top flight football at the same ground (Viktoria Stadion, Žižkov), while Dukla and Bohemians 1905 currently ply their trade in the second tier of Czech football. But don´t let that put you off. Each team represents a different live footballing experience. Football grounds are generally safe but all clubs have a small group of ‘ultras´ for whom rivalries with other teams can become violent. The chances of fans clashing is increased when two Prague- based teams play each other, so to stay safe, avoid wearing club merchandise to the ground.

Tickets are relatively cheap compared to the bigger leagues in Europe, such as the English Premiership, and alcoholic beverages and snacks can be bought at the grounds and taken to your seat. The standard of the top Czech league is similar to other European countries with similar-sized populations. The teams at the top will qualify for the European Champions league (top 2) and the UEFA cup (3rd place plus the domestic cup winner) so they may potentially play against the top teams in Europe. The lower teams and those in the second division will have much less revenue and fans which creates a gulf between the big teams like Sparta and Slavia and the lower teams like Victoria Žižkov. The Czech leagues are traditionally a breeding ground for top international players but the general trend for the cream of the Czech leagues is to move to the larger European football leagues. However, world famous Czech players often return to their homeland in the twilight of their career. Information on teams through the country, including the national team can be found at www.fotbal.cz.

Football clubs in Prague

AS Sparta Praha (www.sparta.cz)

The most successful team in the Czech Republic is Sparta. Their stadium, AXA Arena, is situated behind Letna Park and holds 20,374. It also hosts the Czech national teams´ matches. Sparta has a rich history and has enjoyed a spell of dominance in the last 20 years, ruling the domestic league throughout the 90´s and early 2000´s. World famous Czech players like Pavel Nedvěd, Tomas Rosicky and Petr Čech have all played for the club. The team currently has two ageing stars of the Czech game playing in Tomáš Řepka and Patrik Berger. The local tram stop is Sparta (1, 8, 15, 25, 26).

AS Slavia Praha (www.slavia.cz)

Slavia are the reigning champions of the Gambrinus Liga (the top division) and are looking good to repeat that feat this year at the top of the table. One of the ‘big two´ teams in Prague, Slavia have the current ascension over their rivals Sparta. Having recently moved to the new Eden stadium, which seats 21,000, Slavia now have the largest and most modern football stadium in the Czech league. It is situated in Vršovice near the tram stop Slavia (6, 7, 22, 24) and is also reachable by bus (136, 213, 260). The view from the top of the Eden stadium is an impressive one and the local support behind the goal makes an impressive sound. Slavia´s most notable current player is Vladimír Šmicer, who helped Liverpool lift the European Cup in 2005.

FK Viktoria Žižkov (www.fkvz.cz)

Viktoria are one of the oldest teams in the Czech Republic. Compared to the ‘big two´ of Sparta and Slavia, however, they´ve enjoyed little success in recent times with their most successful spell falling between the great wars. They play in the heart of Žižkov by Husinecká tram stop (5, 9, 26) and perhaps have more localized support than the larger teams in Prague. Their home, the FK Viktoria Stadion, isn´t the most impressive and holds just 5,600, but is easily reachable from Praha Hlavní Nádraží (one tram stop). Strangely, Žižkov traditionally plays on Saturday mornings, unless their games are televised, so anyone out on Friday night may struggle to make kick off.

Bohemians Praha (Střížkov) (www.bohemiansfc.cz)

Easily confused with Bohemians 1905, Bohemians (Střížkov) currently play their football at Viktoria Žižkov´s ground. Bohemians (Střížkov) not only share similar names with Bohemians 1905, but also similar badges and kits. But don´t be fooled, Bohemians (Střížkov) are the far less popular of the two both in support and their heritage.

F.C. Bohemians Praha 1905 (www.fc-bohemians.cz)

Although currently playing their football in the Czech second division after last season´s relegation, the ‘real´ Bohemians are one of the best supported and historic clubs in Prague. Having enjoyed a successful spell in the early 80´s, including a league championship and reaching the semi finals of the UEFA cup, Bohemians have struggled as of late but look good for promotion back to the top flight this year. Bohemian´s stadium, named Ďolíček, is located in Vršovice and holds 7,167. Bohemians are renowned for their very loyal and vocal support. A trip to Ďolíček is probably one of the most enjoyable live football experiences in Prague, if not the best standard of football. The nearest tram stops are Oblouková (6, 7, 24) and Vršovickě Náměstí (4, 22, 23) but the ground is only a short walk from Nádraží Vršovice with more tram options (6, 7, 24).

AGENCY PROPERTIES

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 65m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 65m2

Zlochova, Praha 4 - Modřany

Office for sale, 608m<sup>2</sup>

Office for sale, 608m2

Komornická, Praha 6 - Dejvice

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 76m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 76m2

Střelničná, Praha 8 - Libeň

Apartment for rent, 5+kk - 4 bedrooms, 200196m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 5+kk - 4 bedrooms, 200196m2

náměstí Míru, Praha 2 - Vinohrady

Dukla Prague (www.duklapraha.cz)

Dukla also play in the second division and share a healthy rivalry with Bohemians 1905. They have a rich history and have experienced relative glory in the past. Since the early 90´s however, Dukla have fallen on hard times. After the velvet revolution, rival teams such as Sparta found it easier to gain sponsorship deals, while Dukla struggled due to their connections with the communist past, having been a team originally formed by the army. A turbulent period followed which included financial problems, a short lived merger with FC Příbram, and several name changes. But Dukla is now back and playing their football at Na Julisce, an 18,000 multi-use stadium north of Dejvická metro.

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