21st August 2015
Sparta Prague have truly kicked off the new 2015 – 2016 Czech First League season with a bang, ascending to the top of the league standings table with big, high-scoring wins over clubs like Ziln, Mlada Boleslav, and Banik Ostrava. Add the fact that both last season’s league champions (Viktoria Plzeň) and third-placers (Jablonec) are languishing in the middle of the pack after disappointing starts, and it looks like the Sparta Prague prospects 2015 – 2016 are heading at winning a national football championship title.
Sparta Prague’s Proud History
Sparta Prague are, of course, the most decorated football club in Czech Republic history. Since the inception of the Czech First League in 1993, the Maroons have won the title 12 times, and been the runners-up on eight additional occasions. (In comparison, Slavia Prague, Viktoria Plzeň, and Slovan Liberec have each won the First League title three times.) Add the Czeckoslovak First League into the mix, and Sparta’s title count increases to 33.
Needless to say, the Maroons are the kind of soccer squad that always has at least some prospect of winning a title. Last season, though, Sparta Prague fell short, finishing five points behind Viktoria Plzeň on the division standings table. They settled for runner-up.
2015 – 2016 Gets Underway
As the 2015 – 2016 Czech First League has gotten rolling, though, it’s become evident that Viktoria Plzeň
might not have what it takes to defend their title. The football club got off to a good enough start, with a home win against Slavia Prague, but quickly stumbled in week two (losing to Dukla Prague), and has since featured in a couple of lukewarm 2-2 draws (with Slovacko and Teplice) that haven’t helped matters.
In fact, at the moment, the only soccer club in the Czech First League that is particularly close to Sparta Prague in terms of points is Zlin. And since Zlin was just promoted up into the top-flight, after finishing third in the 2014 – 2015 Czech National Football League, their surprising success is not expected to continue for long.
Sparta Prague: Examining the Club’s 2015 – 2016 Lineup
That leaves Sparta Prague as the clear frontrunner to clinch the 2015 – 2016 First League. But who will be the player to watch among the soccer club’s squad this year?
The star of this year’s Sparta Prague lineup will almost undoubtedly be forward and team captain David Lafata, who led both the team and the entire Czech First League in goals last season. The 33-year-old Lafata has only been in Prague since the 2012 – 2013 season, but has already scored 59 goals in 87 overall fixtures for the soccer club. Last season was one of the best of his entire career in terms of in-league goals (20), and the single best season of his career in terms of overall goals (33, across all competitions), so it will be exciting to see what kind of numbers he can put up this season.
Borek Dockal, Prague’s second most prolific scorer from the 2014 – 2015 campaign, is also back this year. Dockal, a vice-captain and a 26-year-old midfielder who has been with the Maroons since 2013, scored 10 domestic goals (and 12 overall) last season, and is a solid back-up to Lafata’s offensive lead. Expect these two to still be the heart and soul of the soccer team.
Another forward to watch this year is Nigerian footballer Kehinde Fatai. Fatai made a name for himself in Romania, playing for Astra Giurgiu from 2010 to 2015, and scoring 41 goals across 115 league appearances. He played a loan stint at Belgium’s Club Brugge in 2013 – 2014, but this will be his first big move in half a decade.