A hat trick from Lionel Messi and a Cesc Fabregas header ensured Barcelona progressed to the Champions League knockout stages in Pep Guardiola's 200th match in charge of the club.
Having seen Bate Borisov hold AC Milan to a 1-1 draw earlier that evening, Guardiola knew that three points was vital so that Barcelona could claim top spot in the group.
The Czech champions began confidently, seemingly happen to throw caution to the wind and attack the European holders. This suited the Catalan giants who knew that an open game could work in their favour and they should have had an early penalty when Cesc Fabregas was brought down by the trailing leg of Petr Jirácek. However, the referee deemed that the midfielder had played the ball much to the disbelief og the Spanish maestro.
The Czech champions really ought to have taken a shock lead 10 minutes into the game when Milan Petržela burst through Barcelona's static defence but his sidefooted effort was well saved by Victor Valdes when through on goal. It would have been a devestating moment for the Barcelona goalkeeper if he had conceded; he only needed 27 more minutes to break Miguel Reina's illustrious record of 825 consecutive minutes without letting in a single goal.
And Pavel Vrba's side were made to pay in the 24th minute when they were caught dangerously in possession by Thiago Alcantara who played the ball to Lionel Messi. The Argentine weaved his way into the box, only to be upended by Marián Čišovský who was duly sent off for denying a goalscoring opportunity. It was a tough price to pay for a brief slip of concentration for the Czech side, especially when Messi coolly rolled the ball into the corner of the net to give Barcelona the lead.
The sending off had clearly incensed the crowd at the Synot Tip Arena and the home fans began jeering the Barcelona players every time they were in possession of the ball. It did not affect their play however, and Messi doubled his tally for the night at the death of the first half after a splendid one-two with the marauding Adriano. Two goals down and a man disadvantage was surely enough to put Barcelona out of reach of their minnow opponents.
The second half was almost an exhibition match for Barcelona as they slowed down the tempo of the match and dictated the play with their precise passing. Fabregas' chip just evaded Roman Pavlik's post and the keeper had to be alert to turn away Messi's well-struck set-piece.
Plzen nearly pulled a goal back with Petržela was picked out unmarked at the back post but he could not keep his volleyed effort down as it blazed into the side netting. Barcelona immediately launched a counter-attack and Thiago's well-timed run was met with an exquisite lobbed pass from Messi but the young midfielder's header flicked onto the crossbar with the keeper beaten.
Barcelona did make it 3-0 on 72 minutes though when Cesc Fabregas emphatically headed home from Isaac Cuenca's teasing cross and there was still time for Messi to claim a second consecutive hat trick in stoppage time after a sublime team move. La Pulga (The Atomic Flea), picked up the ball deep inside the opponent's half and played a clever ball to Alexis Sanchez before continuing his run. Sanchez played the ball across to Pique who played an audacious backheel into the path of the onrushing Messi who rounded the keeper and completed a stylish hat trick. Six goals in two games was the perfect remedy for those rash critics who had criticised Messi's previous form when he had not scored in three consecutive matches.
The Barcelona frontman has five Champions League goals from four games this season; one behind the competitions' leading marksman, Bayern Munich forward Mario Gomez.
Barcelona now sit two points clear in Group H and can secure top spot in the group if they can defeat AC Milan at the San Siro in the next gameweek.