5 things to know about Champions League Group D
Titleholder Bayern Munich and Manchester City began their Group D campaigns with 3-0 wins. Bayern won 2-0 at home in their group match two seasons ago and lost by the same score at City in what was a meaningless match. CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen believe their chance is in trying to gain third place in the group and move into the Europa League. Here are five things to know about Group D.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: CSKA Moscow will play its home match against Viktoria Plzen in St. Petersburg, because of poor pitch conditions at Khimki Arena. The Russia champion has not scored a goal in its last four matches and coach Leonid Slutski acknowledges the team is ''not in its best form now'' and he is looking for ''enough words (to tell the players) and the players have enough experience to change the current situation.''
PLZEN TRAVELS WELL: Viktoria Plzen has never played against Russian opposition in UEFA competitions. Since losing their opening away fixture of last season's Europa League group stage at Atletico Madrid, Pavel Vrba's men have put together a run of five wins and two draws on the road. Plzen won all six of its Champions League qualifying matches and is unbeaten after 10 in the Czech league, recording seven wins.
REALITY CHECK: After Plzen lost to City 3-0 in its group opener and CSKA's defeat by the same score at Bayern, at least some of the players of the defeated teams seem to accept they will be playing for the consolation prize.
''I would say that we and CSKA (Moscow) will be fighting for the third place in the group because Bayern and City will make sure to advance,'' Plzen central defender Roman Hubnik said.
MISSING STAR: Viktoria Plzen is missing its key player, Czech Republic defender David Limbersky, who has a thigh muscle injury and won't be available for six weeks. Limbersky was injured in the Czech league match at Jihlava on Friday. Plzen won that game 2-1. Still, central defender Roman Hubnik believes ''it might be an advantage for us that they won't be playing (at home) in Moscow but in St. Petersburg.''
BAYERN ROTATION: Since Bayern Munich's new coach Pep Guardiola decided to move Philipp Lahm from right back to the midfield, at least one Bayern star per match has had to sit on the bench. Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger and even Franck Ribery have been reserves recently. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer says the match at City will be between two equal sides.
''City is a team that wants the ball and to play, not sit back and wait for counters,'' Neuer said. ''That could work in our favor.''