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Champions League Preview: Debrecen – Fiorentina

Kick-off: Tuesday, October 20, 2009, 20:45 CET – Ferenc Puskas Stadium, Budapest

Hungarian Minnows

Debrecen shrugged off Levadia Tallin and Levski Sofia to make it into the Champions League group stage and the Hungarian outfit impressed in their opener against Liverpool. Despite losing the away game against the English giants 1-0, expectations were high for the home match against Olympique Lyon.

However, the Magyars were dealt a huge blow by Lyon, as the French proved to be way too strong for Debrecen and recorded a comfortable 4-0 victory. The Hungarians never appeared to be able to cope with the trickery and pace of Lyon and had nothing to complain about after the match.

Debrecen sit last in the table in Group E following their two consecutive defeats and they cannot afford to lose yet again if they are to make it to the knock-out stage. A win against Fiorentina would draw them level on points with the Italians. There’s no doubt about it though that Debrecen will start the match as underdogs.

They currently sit fourth in the Hungarian league with 19 points from their initial eight games. Table toppers Fehervar have a four point lead, but have also played three games more than Debrecen, meaning that head coach Andras Herczeg's men can go top if they win the matches that were postponed before.

The Great Jovetic

Fiorentina qualified for the group stage of the Champions League by eliminating Portuguese powerhouse Sporting CP. Things were not looking too good for La Viola in the decisive match, but young attacker Stevan Jovetic helped his team to the group stage with a well taken goal in Firenze.

Their start to the group stage was not exactly impressive, as Fiorentina were never really able to hurt Lyon and the Italians had to settle for a 1-0 loss. And to make things even worse, start striker Alberto Gilardino was shown a red card by the referee.

Therefore, the latter was forced to miss the home game against Liverpool, but this turned out to be everything but a problem for La Viola. Montenegro international Jovetic stepped up and guided his team to an impressive 2-0 victory by netting a brace against the disappointing English side.   

Fiorentina have been quite impressive domestically so far. Cesare Prandelli's men sit fourth in the Serie A table and trail table toppers Inter by four points after eight games played.

FORM GUIDE

Debrecen

Oct 18 Vasas 2-4 Debrecen (Soproni Liga)
Sep 29 Debrecen 0-4 Olympique Lyon (Champions League)
Sep 25 Kaposvari Rakoczi 4-4 Debrecen (Soproni Liga)
Sep 20 Debrecen 2-1 Ferencvaros (Soproni Liga)
Sep 16 Liverpool 1-0 Debrecen (Champions League)

Fiorentina

Oct 17 Juventus 1-1 Fiorentina (Serie A)
Oct 4 Fiorentina 0-0 Lazio (Serie A)
Sep 29 Fiorentina 2-0 Liverpool (Champions League)
Sep 26 Livorno 0-1 Fiorentina (Serie A)
Sep 23 Fiorentina 2-0 Sampdoria (Serie A)

TEAM NEWS

Debrecen

Robert Feczesin and Norbert Meszaros are both expected to miss the game against Fiorentina due to various injuries.

Probable Starting XI:
Pantic – Szelesi, Fodor, Komlosi, Leandro – Czvitkovics, Kiss, Szakaly, Laczko – Coulibaly, Rudolf.

Fiorentina

Winger Marco Marchionni is the only injury absentee for the Viola, while head coach Cesare Prandelli will not miss any players due to suspension after Alberto Gilardino’s ban was reduced.

Probable Starting XI: Frey; Comotto, Gamberini, Dainelli, Pasqual; Montolivo, Zanetti; Santana, Mutu, Vargas; Gilardino.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Adamo Coulibaly (Debrecen)

The French hitman has been in great form recently and has scored five goals in his side’s previous two official games. Coulibaly scored once in the preliminary stage and will be keen to prove his worth at the group stage as well. The 28-year-old will pose a serious threat for the Fiorentina defence.

Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina)

The Italian hitman was superb while on international duty with Italy and he will be eager to continue his fine form in Hungary. Gilardino has yet to score his first goal of the Champions League group stage this term after missing out on his side’s last European match due to suspension and Tuesday’s game appears to be the perfect opportunity to open up his account.

PREDICTION

The Hungarians put in quite an impressive performance against Liverpool in their opener, but their 4-0 loss against Lyon made it clear that Debrecen might not yet be ready to be serious contenders at Champions League level. The home side will do their utmost to pick up a good result on Tuesday, but the individual class of Adrian Mutu and Alberto Gilardino will prove to be too much for the Magyars.

Debrecen 0-2 Fiorentina

Stefan Coerts, Goal.com