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Champions League Preview: Fiorentina – Debrecen

Kick-Off: Wednesday, November 4, 20:45 CET.
Artemio Franchi Stadium, Florence.

On The Right Track

Fiorentina started their Champions League adventure in disappointing fashion, losing 1-0 away from home against French behemoths Olympique Lyonnais. However, they returned to winning ways in their following match against Liverpool, sending the Reds home with a 2-0 defeat.

They picked up the full three points against Debrecen in Budapest a fortnight ago, but it was no easy ride. The hosts opened the scoring after only two minutes of play, but that did not stop the Viola coming through 4-3 victors.

Cesare Prandelli and his men have endured domestic disappointment since that success. Both Napoli and Genoa proved to be too strong in Serie A, though victory over Catania last weekend has got them back on track.

A win against Debrecen would take Fiorentina to nine points from four games. They appear to be on the right track for qualification for the knockout phase but need maximum points here.

Disappointing Domestic Form

The Hungarian titleholders qualified for the Champions League group stage by shrugging off Levadia Tallinn and Levski Sofia in the preliminaries.

Their start in the group stage was promising, despite losing 1-0 away to Liverpool. However, the Magyars’ ambitions were dealt a huge blow by Lyon in Matchday 2, sinking to a heavy 4-0 loss. Their previous encounter with the Viola ended in a spectacular 4-3 home loss, as mentioned previously.

Their defeat against Fiorentina did not go down too well with the Hungarian champions, who promptly recorded a couple of disappointing domestic results. Both Fehervar and Ujpest managed to pick up the full three points against Debrecen, dropping them to seventh place in the table.

Debrecen cannot afford to lose if they have any ambitions to play European football after the winter break. They currently sit last in the table with no points. However, Liverpool have collected only three points and could be overtaken if the Hungarians pick up good results in their remaining three games.

FORM GUIDE

Fiorentina

November 1 v Catania (H) – WON 3-1 (Champions League)
October 28 v Genoa (A) – LOST 2-1 (Serie A)
October 25 v Napoli (H) – LOST 1-0 (Serie A)
October 20 v Debrecen (A) - WON 4-3 (Champions League)
October 17 v Juventus (A) - DREW 1-1 (Serie A)

Debrecen

October 30 v Ujpest (H) – LOST 2-1 (Soproni Liga)
October 25 v Fehervar (A) – LOST 3-0 (Soproni Liga)
October 20 v Fiorentina (H) - LOST 4-3 (Champions League)
October 18 v Vasas (A) – WON 4-2 (Soproni Liga)
September 29 v Olympique Lyon (H) – LOST 4-0 (Champions League)


TEAM NEWS

Fiorentina

Prandelli is expected to line-up with his newly employed 4-2-3-1 formation, with Alberto Gilardino leading the attacking corps.

Cesare Natali is expected to miss out of Wednesday’s clash due to injury. Stevan Jovetic and Romanian forward Adrian Mutu are both doubtful, too.

Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Frey; De Silvestri, Gamberini, Dainelli, Gobbi; Montolivo, Zanetti; Marchionni, Santana, Vargas; Gilardino.

Debrecen

Robert Feczesin is expected to be sidelined until mid-November due to a knee injury and will therefore miss the game against Fiorentina.

Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): Pantic;  Bodnar, Meszaros, Komlosi, Leandro; Czvitkovics, Kiss, Szakaly, Varga; Coulibaly, Rudolf

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alberto Gilardino - Fiorentina

The Italian hitman has been his side’s main goal scoring threat this season and will be more than happy to add to his tally against the Magyars. Gilardino scored his first group stage goal of the season against Debrecen a fortnight ago, and the striker could very well find the net again on Wednesday.

Gergely Rudolf - Debrecen

Rudolf proved to be a class act in the home match against Fiorentina. The 24-year-old forward beat Sebastien Frey with an amazing shot to help his side back in the match. The Hungarian attacker will pose a serious threat for the Viola’s defence.

PREDICTION

The Italians desperately need the full three points to stay ahead of Liverpool in the group, and it seems unlikely they will spill points here. The Hungarian side’s defence has not been up for the challenge in their Champions League games so far, conceding nine goals already. However, their attack proved to be a serious threat for the Fiorentina rearguard two weeks ago. Therefore, I see the Viola winning an entertaining game with plenty of goals.

Fiorentina 4-2 Debrecen

Stefan Coerts, Goal.com