Stadion Města Plzně, Plzeň (Pilsen)
Club: FC Viktoria Plzeň
Perhaps nowhere else in the world a club is located this close to the League sponsor as in the Czech city of Pilsen beer. Only the Berounka river separates the home of elite club FC Viktoria Plzeň from the world-famous Pilsner Urquell Brewery where the beer Gambrinus is brewed. This is the beer to which the Czech Top Division owes her name: Gambrinus Liga.
Viktoria Plzeň is not a stable presence at the highest level. Founded in 1911 as SK Viktoria Plzeň, it took 20 years before the club would reach the country’s football elite. With a 3rd place in 1933 and a lost Cup final in 1971 against Spartak Trnava the highlights and trophy case of the team are rather small. After a time as Škoda Plzeň the team from Bohemia got its current name in 1993. Viktoria Plzeň hasn’t played for the prizes in the last decades. Often, a safe place in the middle bracket is the highest achievable for the club in red and blue.
Stadion Města Plzně (Stadium of the city of Pilsen) is better known under the nickname “Štruncovy Sady“, the neighbourhood in which it is constructed. The complex was designed by architects Kavan and Brabec and was completed in 1953 with a capacity of more than 25,000. That capacity was raised to 35.000 by, among other things, the renovation of the main stand in 1997.
A year later, in 1998, the stadium got a compliant athletics track which now means also official athletics meetings can be organized. In 2002, the infrastructure heavily suffered from the flooding of the nearby river.
Due to the strict standards of the Czech football association which stipulate that since the start of the season 2003-2004 only seats were allowed for matches in the Gambrinus Liga, the stadium capacity was reduced to approximately 7,500. Some of the standing areas were converted with seats while another part is no longer accessible to the public. A striking feature of the stadium is that it only has 2 instead of the usual 4 light poles.
Pilsen was a one time host for the Czechoslovakian national team. On april 26, 1972 about 5,000 spectators witnessed the 6-0 win of Czechoslovakia against the minnows from Luxembourg. On 6 May 2007 Města Plzně Stadium formed the stage for a Pilsen American football game when the local Patriots battled the Highlanders from Liberec
“Strenger als die UEFA”. SEISS Michael in Stadionwelt nr. 13, sept. 2005