Illustrative photo – Final of the Czech football cup MOL Cup: 1. FC Slovácko – Sparta Prague, May 18, 2022 in Uherské Hradiště.
Prague – On Wednesday, all four quarter-finals of the MOL Cup will take place. Defending champions Slovácko will welcome Bohemians 1905, and last year's finalists Sparta will present themselves in Liberec. The biggest favorite of the competition and the leader of the league table, Slavia, will host the only representative of the second division, Vyškov, and České Budějovice will play against Brno.
Photo gallery: MOL Cup 2022/23
Slovácko, which played in the group of the European Conference League in the fall, will also have the advantage of the home environment in the third match of this year's MOL Cup. In the last match against Bohemians 1905 in the league in October, the team from Uherské Hradiště did not succeed and lost 2:4 after an early red card.
Slovacko conceded for the first time this spring at the weekend and suffered a 0-0 defeat in the league match against Slavia: 2. He is fourth in the balanced table, while Bohemians 1905 are seventh after a 1:1 draw with Brno and three rounds without a win.
“I believe that the defeat against Slavia will not slow us down. All teams feel that they have a chance to reach Europe through the cup. We also see it that way, for us it is a very important match,” said the assistant coach of Slovácko, Josef Mucha, at the press conference, who will once again represent the main coach Martin Svědík, who will serve the last part of the three-match disciplinary punishment.
“Since we have a defender waiting for us, it should be the most difficult in that competition, but at this stage you can't choose. If it's Sparta, Slavia or Slovácko, it doesn't matter. We respect them, but we won there in the league. We know that we can win there. We certainly won't give up and go on a trip there. But if I were a betting man, I'd write it down so that we probably won't be the favorites,” said Bohemians coach Jaroslav Veselý.
Liberec and Sparta will repeat the battle from the final in the cup in 2020, in which the people of Prague won 2:1 in the north of Bohemia. However, the last mutual duel last year in July in the opening round of the league season was dominated by Slovan at Letná by the same ratio.
At the weekend, Liberec lost 1:2 in Pilsen and in the top competition, after a series of three rounds without a win, they are in ninth place. “We all feel that the domestic cup is the easiest way to Europe for us. That Sparta awaits us, that's all the more motivation. Sparta is fine-tuned in terms of the game, and its results only show that,” said Slovan's assistant coach Ivan Kopecký.
Sparta won 3:2 in Zlín at the weekend, scored four points in a row and is chasing Slavia and Pilsen from third place in the league table. “We are going to Liberec fully focused, we know that a quality opponent is waiting for us there. First of all, we have to maintain discipline in the team and we want to continue the winning way,” said the Danish coach of Sparta Brian Priske, whose team almost lost a 3-0 lead at the weekend.
Slavia, which after the elimination of the league champion from Pilsen, is the biggest favorite for the cup, was assigned the lot of the last remaining representative from the second league. Vyškov managed to knock out two teams from the top competition in the previous rounds – in Zlín and before that they also won 1:0 in Jablonec.
“We are happy that we are playing at home. It is possible that even less busy players will get a chance. We must not underestimate anything, it is a one-game quarterfinal. Vyškov in Jablonec showed how good a team it is,” said Slavist coach Jindřich Trpišovský.
For the second team of the second league, the match in Eden will be the first competitive duel in the spring part of the season. “It's an honor for us that we've made it this far. We know we're outsiders, but we're going to Slavia to fight for the best possible result,” Vyškov coach Jan Trousil told ČTK.
Both České Budějovice and Brno made it to the last eight teams of the cup after a long time. Zbrojovka will play in the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2016/17 season, South Bohemia even since the 2011/12 season. Both teams have a home win and an away draw in the league. In the opening match of the season, Dynamo beat the league newcomers from Brno 3:2 at home in November.
“Before the cup, we won at home and now we scored a good point in Mladá Boleslav, so there are some positives. We should to have self-confidence. We clearly want to advance in the cup, reaching the semi-finals would be very nice for us,” said Tomáš Zápotočný, assistant coach of South Bohemia.
“We respect the quality of our opponents and the fact that we play away from home. they did not perform at home in the cup. But we will try to succeed. It is likely that the players who are waiting for the opportunity will also get a chance. And it will be up to them how they deal with it,” said Brno coach Richard Dostálek.
Wednesday March 1:
17:00 Slovácko – Bohemians 1905, Liberec – Sparta Prague, České Budějovice – Brno,
18:00 Slavia Prague – Vyškov.