Manchester City get their European campaign underway in the Czech Republic on Tuesday evening, hoping to get beyond the group stage, something which they have failed to do for the previous two seasons.
Under Roberto Mancini, City found it difficult in two tough groups. Last season, they struggled immensely, finishing bottom of group comprising Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Ajax. Their failure to make more impact helped cost Mancini his job, and Manuel Pellegrini, who took Malaga to within minutes of the semi-finals in 2012-13, will be under pressure to lead his side to the knockout stages this time around.
In theory, this is a must win game for Man City, with European champions Bayern Munich alongside them in Group D. They are likely to face a stern test, however, as Plzen will represent something of an unknown quantity.
Returning to the Champions League proper after missing out last year, Pavel Vrba’s side have shown some quality on the European stage, most notably when they beat Napoli 5-0 on aggregate in last season’s Europa League.
Pellegrini clearly had his mind on this trip when he made his team selection at Stoke City on Saturday. Yet to win away as Man City boss, he could hand recalls to Sergio Aguero, Edin Dezeko, Fernandinho and Jesus Navas, while captain Vincent Kompany could return after a month out with a groin injury.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Plzen