No one - not even Nenad Tomovic himself - could have thought his October would be as eventful as it has already managed to be. In the space of a week and a half the stalwart Nenad has scored his first goal for Fiorentina with a barnstorming run through an apparently drugged Inter defense, and now most recently was involved in the near-riot that forced the suspension of Serbia - Albania on Tuesday. If you haven't read about what happened and why, the always excellent High Empress of SB Nation Serie A Kirsten broke it down wonderfully here.
Federico Bernardeschi was the other Fiorentina international highlight this break, scoring an absolutely outstanding goal to open the scoring in the return leg of the playoff against Slovakia for the Italian U-21's. He was a live wire in the first leg, but decisive at home. Also to be noted was Manuel Pasqual's contributions for the senior Azzurri against Malta in European qualifying. His crosses for debutant Graziano Pelle were excellent and Italy held a shutout in their 1-0 win.
But even with the many recent high-profile moments for Viola internationals in the past week, most importantly the internationals also managed to stay healthy, a trick that we can hope the Fiorentina roster can turn into a habit. The international break was kind to us this time around, and those not drafted to play for their countries enjoyed a two week break, which was likely especially welcome to those in the infirmary. We can hope that the team will return to action on Sunday fit, fresh, and firing.
The players' physical and mental condition will be paramount with another grueling stretch of matches awaiting Fiorentina: 7 games in 22 days starting on Sunday, and no "easy" games on paper. Vincenzo Montella will have his work cut out for him in rotating the squad, although now the depth looks reasonable everywhere but in attack. Micah Richards, Joaquin, and the intriguing Marko Marin all have been part of the regular group sessions, and are all expected to be part of the roster for Lazio on Sunday, although none are anticipated starters. Side note: Gonzalo Rodriguez will have to be careful against Lazio, as he is a yellow card away from a one-game suspension that would be deeply felt against Milan.
The big question mark remains the return of Mario Gomez, who will not have recovered from his muscular injury for this week but there is optimism that he could return to the squad for Milan in a week and a half. Naturally the form of Khouma Babacar has been encouraging, but having the German center forward fit and firing would make a huge difference in Fiorentina's push for the top spots.
With only Rossi and Gomez still out from injury, here is the anticipated 23 man roster for Lazio: Alonso, Aquilani, Babacar, Badelj, Basanta, Bernardeschi, Borja Valero, Brillante, Cuadrado, Fernandez, Gonzalo, Ilicic, Joaquin, Kurtic, Marin, Neto, Pasqual Pizarro, Richards, Savic, Tatarusanu, Tomovic, Vargas