Fiorentina vs. Genk Predictions, Team News, and Lineups
Rivals in Group F square off at Stadio Artemio Franchi. The Viola lead the standings going into their second-to-last match, but Genk trail by just two points.
Three clubs will compete for a spot in the next two match days as Serbian outsiders Cukaricki languish at the bottom of the Group F standings: The distance between Fiorentina, Genk, and Ferencvaros is just two points.
Although the three had drawn their previous games, Fiorentina can go to Budapest the following month with a top-two spot guaranteed, provided they first defeat opponents they nearly defeated in Belgium.
When the teams met again in September, Genk overcame a deficit twice to steal a point thanks to an improbable brace from centre defender Luca Ranieri for the Viola. This time, though, they will have home advantage against the Belgians.
In reality, if Fiorentina wins on Thursday and Ferencvaros fails to gain maximum points versus bottom-seeded Cukaricki, Fiorentina can be declared the winners of their group and avoid having to play a second playoff tie.
Vincenzo Italiano’s team, who finished second in the Europa Conference League the previous season and made an impression on the home front, has struggled thus far this season, dropping four of their past five Serie A games.
After Fiorentina’s 1-0 loss to Milan at San Siro on Saturday—the fourth time in as many games that Fiorentina had failed to score in a month—Italiano was forced to openly lament his strikers’ efforts.
In a 1-0 loss against Standard Liege at Stade de Sclessin over the weekend, Genk also went blank. As of right now, they are sixth in the Belgian Pro League.
Avoiding defeat in Florence is unquestionably crucial, especially if Wouter Vrancken’s team still has aspirations of finishing first, even though they are tied on six points with Ferencvaros and cannot advance or be eliminated from the Conference League this week.
Teams that finish first have a big incentive since they advance directly to the round of sixteen instead of having to play a knockout round playoff match against one of the eight clubs that were demoted from the Europa League.
Even though Genk was narrowly defeated by Antwerp in dramatic fashion on the final day of the season to win the Belgian championship the previous year, they are still a formidable opponent this year.
The Blauw-Wit, who have only lost twice in 16 games since the beginning of September, will undoubtedly fancy their chances against Fiorentina, a team that struggles mightily in the opponent’s end.
Fiorentina Europa Conference League form:
L W D D W W
Fiorentina form (all competitions):
W L L W W L
Genk Europa Conference League form:
W W D W D D
Genk form (all competitions):
D W L D W L
Vincenzo Italiano is expected to make a number of changes to the Fiorentina squad that started the last match against Milan in the first of two home games in a span of three days.
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After serving a one-match suspension, Luca Ranieri is probably going to make a comeback, while youthful full-back Michael Kayode might finish recovering from an ankle injury. M’Bala Nzola should start up front in lieu of Lucas Beltran, who hasn’t scored in Serie A since joining in the summer.
With the exception of Dodo and Gaetano Castrovilli, who will be sidelined for the remainder of the season, Italiano should have a full roster to choose from.
Daniel Munoz resigned from the Genk team just before kickoff on Saturday, leaving Wouter Vrancken without one of his most important players. The Colombian defender is doubtful to play at Stadio Franchi due to a sick episode, although he returned from international duty just in time.
With Joseph Paintsil, Tolu Arokodare, and Andi Zeqiri—all of whom have scored once in the Conference League this season—vying for a spot in the final third, Blau-Wit captain Bryan Heynen should start in midfield.
Fiorentina possible starting lineup
Terracciano; Kayode, Milenkovic, Ranieri, Biraghi; Lopez, Mandragora; Gonzalez, Barak, Brekalo; Nzola
Genk possible starting lineup
Vandevoort; El Ouadhi, Cuesta, McKenzie, Arteaga; Heynen, Galarza, El Khannouss; Bonsu Baah, Zeqiri, Paintsil