With Matías Vecino felled by a knee injury and Josip Iličić suffering from a stress fracture in his spine (!), Paulo Sousa’s already thin squad just got thinner with the news that Federico Bernardeschi will miss the Bologna match, as his calf still hasn’t healed from the strain he picked up against Udinese.
This knock has lingered on much longer than we expected, forcing Berna to miss a lot of time. We thought he was fully recovered when he lasted 80 minutes against Calgiari, but we learned after the match that he’d re-aggravated the injury. A cynic might warn that Berna is exaggerating the extent of the strain to avoid playing in any meaningless matches for a mid-table team in order to keep himself healthy for a big-money move to Juventus or Inter Milan this summer, but that runs counter to everything he’s ever done at Fiorentina and is awfully hard to believe, despite the myriad rumors about his impending exit.
The upshot is that we’ll see Riccardo Saponara tasked with unlocking the Felsinei defense. The question, of course, is who will drop off front man Nikola Kalinić with him. It could be any of Borja Valero, Cristian Tello, or Federico Chiesa. Khouma Babacar is also a possibility in more of a 3-4-1-2ish shape. We also could finally get to see Ianis Hagi get a bit of time in Serie A, albeit off the bench.
Whatever the solution, it'll be a significant downgrade and has to deflate the already-low hopes for European qualification even further. Still, though, we need Bernardeschi at his best and healthiest, so here’s hoping he’s back soon and ready to wreak havoc.