Preview: Fiorentina vs. Basel

Preview: Fiorentina vs. Basel

Italian side Fiorentina welcome Swiss outfit Basel to the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Thursday evening as the Europa Conference League semi-finals get underway.

Bidding to face either West Ham United or AZ Alkmaar in the final, Fiorentina and Basel will both be eager to notch a first-leg advantage in Tuscany.

Fiorentina booked their place in the last four of the Conference League with a dramatic 6-4 aggregate triumph over Polish club Lech Poznan, with La Viola reaching a first European semi-final since 2014-15.

After claiming an impressive 4-1 victory in Poland, Fiorentina found themselves 3-0 down on home soil in the second leg, but late goals from Riccardo Sottil and Gaetano Castrovilli sealed the deal for Vincenzo Italiano’s side.

Fiorentina have lost just two of their 12 Conference League clashes this season, notching nine consecutive victories between October and April while scoring at least three goals on seven occasions during that period.

Given that La Viola sit eighth in the Serie A table – 12 points outside the top six – Italiano and his players will view the Conference League as their best chance of securing European football for next season.

Following a 1-0 defeat to newly-crowned Serie A champions Napoli on Sunday, Fiorentina have won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions, so the Tuscany outfit will be hoping to rediscover their best form on Thursday.

Just like Fiorentina, Basel experienced a wild ride en route to the Conference League semi-finals, snatching a 4-3 aggregate victory over French side Nice to book their place in the last four.

Braces from Zeki Amdouni and Terem Moffi ensured that Basel and Nice drew the first leg 2-2, while late goals from Jean-Kevin Augustin and Kasim Nuhu saw the Swiss outfit come from behind to win the second leg 2-1.

It is worth remembering that Basel had to come through three qualifying rounds to make the Conference League group stage, dispatching Crusaders, Brondby and CSKA Sofia before losing just one of their six group games.

That said, FCB have struggled to replicate their European form on the domestic stage this season, with Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to FC Zurich leaving Heiko Vogel’s side fifth in the Swiss Super League table.

Basel’s inconsistency is underlined by a record of three wins, three draws and three losses across their last nine outings in all competitions, making it difficult to predict how Vogel’s men will fare when they visit Florence.

Fiorentina Europa Conference League form:

Fiorentina form (all competitions):

Basel Europa Conference League form:

Basel form (all competitions):

We say: Fiorentina 2-1 Basel
There is no hiding the fact that both Fiorentina and Basel head into Thursday’s clash in iffy form, but we expect La Viola to grind out a narrow first-leg advantage on home soil.

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