Following a Juventus beat-down of AC Milan in the Coppa Italia final (featuring an own goal from former Fiorentina striker Nikola Kalinić, who cost the Rossoneri €25 million), the picture for Europa League qualification has come into focus. The Serie A teams that finish 5th, 6th, and 7th are in.
Here are the Europa League places in the table. Inter could move up and Lazio drop down, but that won’t affect the Viola either way. 9th-place Sampdoria, meanwhile, is mathematically eliminated. Therefore, AC Milan, Atalanta, and Fiorentina are fighting for 6th and 7th place. 6th place will be drawn directly into the group stage, while 7th place will have to win a playoff tie (possibly against a Champions League washout) to earn a spot in the group stage.
Place Team Points Goal difference
5 Inter Milan 69 36
6 AC Milan 60 10
7 Atalanta 59 19
8 Fiorentina 57 13
Due to a genuinely bizarre scheduling quirk, all three teams play each other and/or Cagliari in their last matches. Here’s how it looks:
Round 37 Round 38
Fiorentina vs Cagliari Milan vs Fiorentina
Atalanta vs Milan Cagliari vs Atalanta
So what has to happen for Fiorentina to get through? Well, there are 92 possible outcomes for Fiorentina in these last 4 matches when you take goal difference into account, although some of those are frankly outlandish (Fiorentina is highly unlikely to make up 6 goals on la Dea, for example). Rather than running through all of those possibilities (believe me, it takes a long time), I’ll give you the raw numbers: of those 92 possible outcomes, 10 see Fiorentina finishing 6th, 29 see Fiorentina finishing 7th, and 54 see Fiorentina finishing 7th.
While this may seem pretty dire—after all, that’s only 42% chance that the Viola slip in—there’s still plenty of hope for the good guys, in that they control their own fate. If they win both their remaining matches, they are guaranteed to qualify for the Europa League. And while the statistics may seem to think that Fiorentina is doomed, we’ve seen time and again that football frequently ends up very differently than what the numbers predict.