|Fullname:||FK Dukla Praha|
|League:||Czech 2. Liga|
Dukla Prague (AC Dukla Praha) are a football team from Prague in the Czech Republic. During their heyday the club won 11 Czechoslovak league titles and nine Czechoslovak Cups, and in the 1966-67 season, reached the semifinals of the European Cup. As late as 1986-87 they reached the Cup Winners' Cup semi-final and it also made a great impact in the American Challenge Cup competition in New York City with four wins between 1961 and 1964.
Dukla Prague football club was connected to clubs of other sports, but this connection continues no longer. Separate athletics, rowing, handball, modern pentathlon, cycling etc. clubs named Dukla Praha however still prepare world class athletes in their respective sports (like Roman Šebrle and others). In contradiction to the soccer clubs, these ones are still under patronage of the Czech Army.
The club that ultimately became Dukla Prague was originally formed by the Czech army in 1947 and was initially known as ATK (Armádní tělovýchovný klub; English: Army Club of Physical Training). It immediately got a chance to qualify for the top league and it won qualification playoff against the winner of trade-union competition, MZK Pardubice. In its first league season, ATK lost to the eventual champion SK Slavia Praha 2-8, but anyway finished in 8th place of 14 teams in 1948 (only one half of season was played as the league system was changed from an autumn-spring to a spring-autumn season), and jumped up to fourth in 1949, the best result of the first years of the club.
In 1952 ATK Prague won its first trophy – the Czechoslovak Cup after beating "Builders’ XI" (team completed of two clubs from Teplice and Liberec) in the semifinal and Škoda Hradec Králové 4-3 in the final. In time for the start of the 1953 season the club began to play under the name ÚDA (Ústřední dům armády; English: Central House of Army). It was time of the politically motivated reorganization of the Czechoslovak sport and physical culture. The team went on the season winning first championship with only one loss of 13 games (the league clubs played only once each other due to a big number of international matches that year).
Finally in 1956 the club was renamed Dukla Prague in honour of the Slovak village that withstood a German onslaught during World War II. Again, in the year of the change of name, the club wins the Czechoslovak Championship five points clear of Slovan Bratislava, it beat third place Spartak Praha Sokolovo, now known as Sparta Prague 9-0!
The club regained its title in 1957-1958 season, which started in 1957 spring and finished in 1958 spring. Spartak Praha Sokolovo, tied on 40 points, lost the title by two goals of goal difference. Dukla also won its first European Cup match, beating Manchester United at home 1-0 (after losing 0-3 in the first leg). The team then repeatedly finished in top three positions of the league.
Coach Karel Kolský was signed under first titles of Dukla, in 1961 Jaroslav Vejvoda took the club under its auspices and they won the fourth title seven points ahead of ČH Bratislava and clinched the double after the Czechoslovak Cup final 3-0 win over Dynamo Žilina. It started series of four consecutive titles and between 1961 and 1964.
In 1962 and 1964, the reigning Czechoslovak champion Dukla Praha participated in the Champions Cup and reached the quarterfinal both time beating the likes of Servette FC and Górnik Zabrze, losing to Tottenham Hotspur, Benfica Lisbon and Borussia Dortmund in sequence.
The supremacy of Dukla was supported by performances of its reserve team, which even qualified to the top league in 1965 by winning the second league, but could not be promoted because of Dukla's first team participation in the competition.
Dukla won its last title of the 1960s in 1966 with the same record of 13 wins, 7 ties and six losses and +17 goals difference as the second place Sparta Praha. The team however got new top class reputation as a cup champion winning the Czechoslovak Cup in 1965, 1966 and 1969. Dukla confirmed its cup quality in the European Cup 1966-67, eliminating Esbjerg fB, R.S.C. Anderlecht and Ajax Amsterdam on its defeat-less way to the semifinal, where it lost 1-3 on aggregate to eventual trophy winners Celtic F.C..
In 1961, Dukla Prague was invited to New York participate in the second edition of the International Soccer League, competition of 16 elite world teams. Dukla spent all summer in the United States, playing games and between them training in famous Central Park.
Dukla played seven matches in the round-robin stage with following results:
The team's biggest threat was the midfield line of Svatopluk Pluskal and Josef Masopust; Rudolf Kučera was the top scorer of the tournament and the most popular player of the team for the New York City audience. The starting lineup of Dukla was as follows: Kouba - Šafránek, Čadek, Novák - Pluskal, Masopust - Brumovský, Vacenovský, Borovička, Kučera, Jelínek (Coach Vejvoda).
The final was a rematch duel against Everton, which started the first game with a great pressure, but after failing to convert a penalty kick (saved by Pavel Kouba Dukla took the control of the game and took advantage of technical combination play. After leading 5-0 in the half-time, Dukla won the game 7-2 and it went on to beat Everton in the rematch 2-0. Dukla's participation in the American Cup ended with eight wins of nine games and score of 39-11.
Czech writer and sports journalist Ota Pavel wrote a unique book about Dukla's first victory and named it Dukla mezi mrakodrapy English: Dukla Among Skyscrapers.
The supremacy of Dukla was so undisputed the organizers decided to establish the American Challenge Cup as the final of next International Soccer League editions, in which Dukla was invited to play against the winners of the group stage. Dukla won three American Challenge Cups, over Brazil's América-RJ in 1962 (1-1 and 2-1), over West Ham United in 1963 (1-0 and 1-1) and over Zagłębie Sosnowiec in 1964 (3-1 and 1-1) . Only in 1965, in the last edition of the competition, Dukla was beaten in the American Challenge Cup by Polonia Bytom 0-2 and 1-1.
Dukla's overall record in the International Soccer League and the American Challenge Cup thus comprises 11 wins, four draws and one loss with a score of 49-19.
Despite the 11th place league finish in 1971, the worst Dukla's result between the club foundation and 1992-1993 season, Dukla played on at the top of the championship, finishing on the podium again. Although it fell down to ninth place in 1975, it was back on top again two years later, winning the championship four points ahead of Inter Bratislava. In these years, Dukla could relay on two elite scorers – Ladislav Vízek and Zdeněk Nehoda, who helped it to another title in 1979.
Dukla participated in four editions of European Cups between 1969 and 1977, but won only four of its ten games and only one two-leg tie. But in 1979, the club commemorated its success again in the UEFA Cup. Although Dukla met strong West-European teams of Lanerossi Vicenza – without its last season top scorer Paolo Rossi, Everton F.C., it went on to the third round, where it beat VfB Stuttgart 4-0 (goals by D. Hoeness – own goal, Vízek, Pelc and Gajdůšek two minutes before the end) after losing the away game 1-4. In the cup's quarterfinals, Dukla was eventually eliminated, drawing the away game 1-1 but losing at home to Hertha BSC Berlin 1-2. Those games were watched by 29,000 spectators. In the next years Dukla was an ordinary participant of the European competitions, but struggled to go past the first round until 1985-1986 season.
In 1982 Dukla finished first in the league and Vízek was the joint winner of the scorers rankings with 15 season's goals.
One year before, in 1981, Dukla won the Czech Cup and went on to the Czechoslovak Cup final, where it smashed Dukla Banská Bystrica 4-1 with two goals of both Nehoda and Vízek in the second half. Dukla thus started series of six consecutive participations in the Czech Cup finals and won three Czechoslovak Cups between 1981 and 1985.
As the national cup winner, Dukla qualified also to the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1985-86 and mounted its another European-scene peak. By beating AEL Limassol, AIK Fotboll and S.L. Benfica, Dukla reached the semifinals, where it was eliminated by Oleg Blokhin‘s FC Dynamo Kyiv, which eventually won the trophy. A year later, Dukla eliminated Bayer Leverkusen from the UEFA Cup before being knocked out by F.C. Internazionale Milano, Leverkusen won the trophy the next season.
The domestic and especially international position of Dukla at the very end of the 1980s was a little weaker, but its player Milan Luhový won the top scorers competition twice in 1988 and 1989.
The most famous players of this era were: Ivo Viktor, Ladislav Vízek, Zdeněk Nehoda, František Štambachr, Stanislav Pelc, Oldřich Rott, Miroslav Gajdůšek, Luděk Macela, Karel Stromšík, Jan Fiala or Milan Luhový.
Yet in 1990, after the Velvet Revolution, after which the reputation of the army club had fallen, Dukla won the Czechoslovak Cup, winning three of last four games in the competition on penalty shootouts. The next year, Dukla was eliminated from the Cup Winners‘ Cup symbolically by its 1986 semifinal opponent, Dynamo Kyiv, but now in the second round only.
Since the beginning of the 1990s the club had fallen on increasingly hard times. Their major rivals, such as Sparta Prague, had started to acquire major sponsorship deals. Dukla found it hard to acquire the same level of sponsorship, mainly due to the communist past which tainted the club.
It stayed in the championships until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. In 1993-1994 season the fabled club won only one league game and for the first time since its foundation it was relegated, due to financial reasons directly to the third division.
Slovak-origin Czech entrepreneur Bohumil Ďuričko finally took the plunge and agreed to save the ailing former giants. Ďuričko's first move was to buy rival team FC Příbram who at the time was in the Czech second division. The two clubs were merged and the newly formed club took the place of Přibram in the Czech second division, playing its games in Prague.
After one year, Dukla Praha managed to win the second division and to be promoted back to the top level of Czech football in 1997 with the help of the cash injection. As the second-division team, Dukla played the Czech Cup final, but lost to SK Slavia Praha on the golden goal rule. The club management however could not make an agreement with army as the owner of the stadium and moved the club to Příbram and subsequently renamed to FC Dukla and later to Dukla Příbram.
The club now has a name of FK Marila Příbram.
The name of Dukla Praha disappeared from the Czech football for several years, but not for ever. Dukla Dejvice, local Prague team founded in 1959, began playing in Na Julisce stadium and adopted Dukla Praha's yellow and red colors.
The Dukla Prague association was founded again and the club with the famous name took Prague Championship (level four in the Czech football league system) over from Dukla Dejvice.
The club entered Prague Championship again in 2006. In November 2006, Dukla Prague management however informed, that it agreed on takeover of second league rights of the Jakubčovice team.
Dukla Prague is back, now in second Czech division, having entered it in 2007.
As of September 30, 2008:
1Not an official cup competition.