Brno Sports Weekly Report — Sports Returning, Big Football Game Saturday
After two years in the second league, FC Zbrojovka returns to the top league with a home game against Sparta Praha. Game-time is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Photo credit: FC Zbrojovka Brno.
Brno, Aug 19 (BD) — Top-league men’s football returns to Brno; top-league women’s football continues with Horni Herspice; Sígrs maintain control of rivalry with solid fourth-quarter drive; Draci earn top seed for baseball postseason; Brno cricket teams play home “double-header” on Saturday; fall sports are deep into preparations for the coming season; and the Brno sports schedule.
Zbrojovka Returns to Fortuna Liga, First Game is Sparta at Home
As FC Zbrojovka begins its Fortuna Liga campaign, after two seasons in the second league, there are many questions:
— Are they ready for the jump to the top league?
— Does trainer Miloslav Machálek have the right mix of athleticism and speed on his roster to have success with his defensive and offensive formations?
— Will the youth step up and then will the club be able to keep them (i.e., Antonín Růsek)?
— Will the season and on-site attendance be hampered by another wave of coronavirus restrictions?
And, perhaps most pressing for this week:
— Will Zbrojovka be able to start the season with a win over Sparta Praha at home on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and continue with a solid and respectable season?
The stated goal for this season is to defend the promotion and keep the spot in the Fortuna Liga. The unspoken goals are, no doubt, less cautious and more optimistic: Beat rival teams Slavia Praha, Slovácko and Baník Ostrava. Entertain fans every game. Earn a spot in international tournaments. Win the league.
Stranger things have happened.
Sparta, the historically dominant team of the country, will offer bookends to the season, with the game in Prague scheduled for the last weekend of May. In between there are 32 rounds because the league will have a total of 18 teams this year.
Horni Herspice Has Tough Start to Season
On Saturday morning, Brno’s other top-division football team will also begin its season: Lokomotiva Brno Horni Herspice hosts SK Slavia Praha.
The game will be played in Hrušovany u Brna at 11 a.m. because the main home field in Horni Herspice is undergoing construction.
It is a tough start to the season for Lokomotiva. Slavia is the top team from last season. Then, for Week No. 2, AC Sparta Praha, the second team from last year, comes to town.
The first road game is Sept. 6 at rival 1. FC Slovácko in Uherske Hradiste.
The top women’s football league has eight teams. The season includes 11 rounds through mid-October, then continues in February.
Sígrs Retain “Best in Brno” Title
After sputtering through three quarters of poor coordination, bad routes and dropped passes, the Brno Sígrs offense finally settled into a long sustained drive at the beginning of the fourth quarter, which sealed the victory against their crosstown hosts, the Brno Alligators.
The Brno Sígrs(1-0) won the opening game of the Paddock League season, 7-26, on Saturday.
Douglas Webster, who was the most efficient quarterback in the league last year for the runner-up Ostrava Steelers, was given the reigns for the Sígrs offense, but he had trouble meshing with his receivers for most of the game. Finally, at the end of the third quarter and deep into the fourth quarter, he got the offense moving forward with short and successful passes.
Webster capped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Lucas Da Silva. That was enough for the win. A couple of plays later, he hit Jan Hampl for a 33-yard insurance touchdown. Earlier in the game, Wesbter ran for a TD.
The Alligators (0-1) scored in the first quarter when Tomáš Fortelnýfound Tomáš Robíšek for a 3-yard touchdown.
The Sígrs will host the Přerov Mammoths at their new home field in Brněnské Ivanovice on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Alligators go to Ostrava on Sunday for a 3 p.m. game.
Draci Earn No. 1 Seed for Postseason
Draci Brno earned the first seed for the Czech extraliga baseball postseason. They still have a make-up game to play, but they are have a solid lead in the standings. They are scheduled to play the No. 4 seed from the Top Six phase of the regular season, which appears to be Eagles Praha.
The semifinal series — Seed No. 1 X Seed No. 4 and Seed No. 2 X Seed No. 3 — will be held on Sept. 4-7. The Czech Series will be Sept. 11-20. Second-seed Kotlářka Praha appears to be slated for defending-champion and third-seed Arrows Ostrava in the best-of-three semifinals.
On Tuesday, the Draci got a run in the 10th inning in order to beat crosstown rival Cardion Hroši Brno, dropping the Hroši to fifth place in the standings.
Rangers Beat Bohemian CC
The Brno Rangers squeaked out a win against Bohemian CC last weekend: Prague tallied 102/8 and Brno had 106/8.
Both first-league Brno cricket teams play at home this weekend against the Prague Spartans CC Vanguards: the Brno CC 2nd XI Raiders take the field at 11 a.m. and the Brno CC 1st XI Rangers play at 3 p.m.
Fall Seasons Preparing For Starting Soon
The weather may be hot and muggy, but the Brno teams that will complete in the fall are already deep into their pre-season training, including men’s hockey, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s volleyball.
Traditional summer sports, like baseball and cricket are midway through their season with the postseason not far away. Men’s and women’s football starts Saturday.
MEN’S HOCKEY — Season starts Sept. 18
HC Kometa are in the middle of their preseason games. They start the Tipsort extraliga season on Sept. 18 when they host HC Oceláři Třinec. They travel to HC Verva Litvínov on Sept. 20. That game will be televised, starting at 4:20 p.m.
Former NHL stars Tomáš Plekanec and Martin Erat have both decided to retire.
MEN’S BASKETBALL — Basket Brno Takes Major Steps Forward
Head coach Lubomír Růžička is back for the second season of the team’s long-term plan to leverage the deep youth programs of Brno into a top-notch program.There have been many significant changes:
– True Player Group, an Israeli firm, acquired an ownership stake in Basket Brno in May. The part-owner is the family of David Blatt, who is a decorated international coach with a European championship, a Euroleague championship and a stint working with LeBron James in Cleveland.
– Last week, Yedidia Rapaport also acquired an ownership stake. Most recently, Rapaport was the co-owner of Hapoel Tel Aviv, one of the most famous and largest clubs in Israel. He has more than 30 years of experience in basketball management.
– The youth program has been reinforced with a program named Next Generation.
– And the men’s team, which has been attracting more and more fans each season, will move its home court. They will now play at Hala vodova in Kralovo Pole.
Preseason games have already begun, although they are being juggled because of coronavirus concerns. The team has added significant players, including Šimon Puršl, Richard Bálint, Viktor Půlpán. Promising young players, including Radek Farský, are back.
The team could not come to terms with Davell Roby, who played in Brno in 2018-19 and came back for another stint midway through the 2019-20 season.
The first game of the NBL season is Sept. 11. Brno will host Kolin at 6 p.m.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL — KP Brno, Žabiny Brno Start in Late September
Both local women’s teams will start the ŽBL season on the road. Žabiny Brno, which finished fourth this spring in the truncated 2019-20 season,has a tough opener at Sokol H. Králové on Sept. 26. KP Brno will be at Loko Trutnov on Sept. 27.
Žabiny Brno return home on Sept. 30 to host BLK Slavia Praha.
KP Brno, which finished third last year, goes to SBŠ Ostrava on Sept. 30, then, in the third round, plays at home against BK ST – U19 Chance on Oct. 3.
On Monday, KP Brno learned its opponents in the EuroCup tournament. They will play in Group D against MBA Moscow, Gorzów of Poland and Birevi Elazig of Turkey.
VOLLEYBALL — Selmy to Defend Title
VK Brno will begin the defense of its title when it plays at Prostějov Sept. 19. VK Královo Pole starts at home against Šternberk on Sept. 19.
The Volleyball Brno men’s team finished third last year. It’s first match is Sept. 19.
BRNO SPORTS RESULTS
Quick results for various Brno professional and recreational sports for the past week. Home team listed first (where applicable).
Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020
— Baseball: Draci Brno 9, Cardion Hroši Brno 2
Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020
— American Football: Brno Alligators 7, Brno Sígrs 26
— Cricket: Vinohrady CC 1st XI W 44/2, Brno CC 2nd XI Raiders L 42/10
Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020
— Baseball: Cardion Hroši Brno 3, Draci Brno 2
— Cricket: Bohemian CC, Prague 1st XI L 102/8, Brno CC 1st XI Rangers W106/8
Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020
— Baseball: Draci Brno 2, Cardion Hroši Brno 1
BRNO SPORTS SCHEDULE
The schedule for various Brno professional and recreational sports for the next week. All dates and times subject to change. Home team listed first (when applicable).
Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020
— Women’s Football: Lokomotiva Brno H.H. X SK Slavia Praha, Hrušovany u Brna, 11 a.m.
— Baseball: Draci Brno X Kotlářka Praha, 2 p.m.
— Men’s Football: Zbrojovka Brno X Sparta Praha, 7:30 p.m.
— American Football: Brno Sígrs X Přerov Mammoths, Brněnské Ivanovice, 6 p.m.
— Cricket: Brno CC 2nd XI Raiders X Prague Spartans CC Vanguards, 11 a.m.
— Cricket: Brno CC 1st XI Rangers X Prague Spartans CC Vanguards, 3 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020
— American Football: Ostrava Steelers X Brno Alligators, 3 p.m.
The Brno Sports Report is published every Wednesday. All dates and times are subject to change. Most of the stories are about the traditional “English-speaking” team sports — football, hockey, baseball, basketball, American football, cricket, rugby, etc. — but it is also about the interesting local spectator and participation sports — tennis, badminton, running, horse racing, swimming, rock climbing, biking, etc. If you have any suggestions for what should be included, please comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.