After yesterday’s mega-post previewing the upcoming season, I only have a few minutes tonight to preview what will surely be one of the most important Fiorentina matches of the year. Tomorrow the Viola play Slavia Prague in the second leg of their Champions League qualifying clash; the Viola won the first leg (at home) by a score of 2-0, and a win or a draw tomorrow (or even a one-goal loss) will send our club to the exciting and lucrative group stages of the Champions League.
As I said, I am a bit pressed for time this evening. Decent-enough previews of the match can be found here (on goal.com) and here (on Calcio Italia’s site). But one thing that has been emphasized in every preview is the Great Man’s belief that Slavia are no pushovers, and that he believes “two goals are not enough.” I like this offensive spirit from our coach and the idea that tomorrow will be an attacking game from the Viola’s perspective; last season Fiorentina were always better when they were on the attack.
The big news before kickoff, and news that surely all Fiorentina fans have now heard, is that Adrian Mutu has indeed been ruled unfit to play. (Some news outlets are reporting he also will not play in the Juve match on Sunday.) I have a feeling we’ll see Pazzini in his place, although it could be Osvaldo. Adrian Mutu is a critical player for our team’s success, but I do not believe his absence means we cannot advance to the next round. I think if Fiorentina plays an aggressive, smart game tomorrow, they should get the win and move on to the group stages. I think Mutu’s absence will be much more keenly felt on Sunday.
So far Fiorentina has had a fine pre-season (in spite of a few minor stumbles) and I do think they are ready to close out Slavia tomorrow. We will see if they come out on the road and attack, but I think they will. And thus we will next have to face the challenges of the group stages of the Champions League.
I believe the Viola will match the score of the first leg, and win 2-0.
The match will not be shown on television here in the states. Good luck with those shaky internet connections.
I will post after the match. Forza Viola, everyone.