Forewarned is forearmed, as they say, so we decided to take a look at Europa League semi-final opponents Sevilla in an attempt to ascertain what Fiorentina may be up against on Thursday.
Reasons to be worried
- They are very strong at home. Until their defeat to Real Madrid at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium on Saturday, Sevilla were the only La Liga side to be unbeaten at home, in fact, the 3-2 defeat was their only defeat in any competition at home. They have also won their last 8 European matches at home.
- They are the Europa League holders, beating Benfica 4-2 on penalties in the final last season. Sevilla are hoping to become the first ever team to win the UEFA cup/Europa League for the fourth time this season.
- They have been scoring goals for fun this season - The Andalusians have scored over 100 goals in all competitions this season, with Colombian striker Carlos Bacca chipping in with 24 of them.
- They are quick on the break - Vicente Iborra's goal on Saturday was the culmination of a quick breakaway against Real Madrid and an extremely well worked team move.
Reasons to be cheerful
- They are still fighting in the league - Sevilla are still competing for 4th place in La Liga and currently sit just outside the Champions League spot in 5th, only 3 points behind Valencia.
- Their run in isn't easy - their opponents either side of the two Europa League games are against 10th placed Celta Vigo and relegation battlers Almería.
- They have lost an influential centre back to injury - Nicolas Pareja is out for the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the quarter final against Zenit St. Petersburg.
- They don't have a good record against Italian clubs - Sevilla have never beaten an Italian side in Europe, having drawn one and lost three games.
Players to watch:
Carlos Bacca's goals speak for themselves this season but Spaniard Vicente Iborra has been attracting attention from Premier League clubs with his standout performances and goals scored from defensive midfield. Sevilla's numerous attacking options include youngster Denis Suarez, on loan from Barcelona, and former Arsenal man Jose Antonio Reyes.
Fiorentina have already proved that they are willing to throw everything at the Europa League this season and have a fairly comfortable last few fixtures in Serie A where they only need to consolidate the 5th place that they currently occupy. Sevilla will have to be more cautious as they fight with Valencia for the Champions League place that will guarantee to send them straight into the group stages. With two sides that are unafraid to attack and two stadiums that can produce a fantastic atmosphere, the ties are bound to be far from dull. Playing in Europe seems to suit Vincenzo Montella and the viola have already succeeded in making some good teams look very ordinary in the competition this season.