In Sports News this Monday: Sparta lose first league game but become champions after Plzeň drop points; Bohemians 1905 closer to relegation after latest defeat; Czechs less than impressive in last tournament before ice hockey Worlds; and Berdych loses in final of Portugal Open.
Sparta Prague have been crowned Czech league champions for the first time since 2010. After being in pole position to lift the title for a long time, Sparta’s moment of glory did not quite go according to script. Indeed, they were beaten for the first time all season on Saturday when they succumbed 3:1 to Teplice, and it was a 2:2 draw between Jablonec and Plzeň on Sunday that sealed their 36th title; that result made it impossible for Plzeň to overtake Sparta as they are nine points behind with three rounds remaining and have an inferior head to head record.
Like his teammates, Sparta midfielder Josef Hušbauer watched the decisive game on TV. He was on the way to the club’s stadium to celebrate when he spoke to Czech Radio.
“Of course we wanted to celebrate becoming champions on the pitch. We would have preferred to celebrate it at home in front of our own fans, but this is the way it worked out – and I think everybody’s glad this is how it worked out. Myself and the guys have been congratulating one another, which has been kind of strange when we’re not together. But we’re meeting at Letná and it’ll definitely kick off there.”
In any case there are sure to be very big celebrations at Sparta’s Letná next Sunday, when the champions host Olomouc.
At the other of the table, bottom placed Bohemians 1905 are closer to the relegation trapdoor after a 1:0 away defeat at Mladá Boleslav left them on 23 points. Baník Ostrava and Sigma Olomouc are both on 25 points and face each other on Monday evening, after the recording of our show.
The Czech Republic were less than impressive in their last tournament before the imminent Ice Hockey World Championship in Belarus. The Czechs got off to a good start at the Euro Hockey Tour’s Oddset Hockey Games, beating Sweden 3:2. But that was followed by an embarrassing 6:0 defeat to Russia and a 2:1 loss to Finland after penalties.
The team’s star player Jaromír Jágr appeared against Sweden but did not finish the second game and there are question marks over whether he will have recovered from a thigh injury before the Worlds. That is one reason coach Vladimír Růžička has made two last minute additional call-ups.
“We don’t know what Jarda’s health situation will be. He should be all right but of course no-one knows for sure. And Roman Červenka has the flu, so we decided to broaden the squad a little.”
The Czech Republic’s first game against at the World Championship will be against Slovakia in Minsk on Friday.
Tomáš Berdych lost in the final of the Portugal Open on Sunday. The Czech men’s number one, bidding to win his second title of 2014, was beaten 6-0 5-7 1-6 by Carlos Berlocq of Argentina. Berdych remains sixth in the world rankings.