Norwich City friendly perfect tune up for FK Dukla Prague
- Credit: Archant
Czech international Jan Simunek admits Norwich City is a good pre-season test of FK Dukla Prague's domestic ambitions in Wednesday's friendly in Austria (KO 5pm UK).
Simunek rejected offers to stay in Germany after nine years playing for the likes of Wolfsburg, where he won the Bundesliga title in 2009, along with Kaiserslautern and Bochum.
The 29-year-old took a pay cut to return to his native Prague this summer as FK Dukla look to challenge city rivals Sparta Prague and qualify for the big European club competitions after a disappointing lower half league finish last season.
'About Norwich we do not even have to talk,' he said. 'The second division of the English competition has its own unique quality and a strong financial background. We know this will be a good game for us. I feel good, there's a great bunch, workouts are great. I'm happy with my football and laughing a lot in training, which I previously missed a lot. Every day is getting better and better and in the last match I played the full 90 minutes and I felt great.
'I would like to reach the top of the podium this season, but we have to be realistic. Clubs like Sparta and Slavia Pilsen have the finances. We can make up for this handicap with motivation and fighting spirit. I know from Germany, where millionaires and clubs can lose against teams where players fight for success and have the will to achieve something. I want to prove to people why I was playing at that level and that it was not by accident.'
Norwich is the last game of the FK Dukla's thee-match Austrian tour, which has seen them draw 0-0 against Russian outfit Krasnodar before beating Hungarians Soproni VSE 3-0 on Monday. Simunek has been impressed by the quality in the squad since cutting his ties with Bochum.
'I know guys who are here, they have quality. We certainly won't be worrying about relegation,' he said. 'I remember when we won the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg after half a season we were eighth or ninth, but in the end we finished first, because we played the second half of the season without conceding many goals. I think everything is possible. There are guys who want to accomplish something and to show up.
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'I want to be happy and have the joy of football. My family and my parents live in Prague and one realizes that money is not everything and that's why I made this decision, even though I was still in Bochum contracted for one more year.'
FK Dukla Prague
Founded: 1958 as FK Dukla Dejvice. Took the name FK Dukla Prague in 2001. Not to be confused with the original Dukla Prague club, who reached the European Cup semi-finals in 1967.
FK Dukla Prague have played in the Czech top flight since 2011.
Ground: Stadion Juliska
2015/16 league finish: 10th
Notable player: Jan Šim?nek - Czech international defender who has just returned to his homeland this summer after nine seasons in German club football with Wolfsburg, Kaiserslautern and Vfl Bochum. Represented his country at every age group level from under 16 upwards.