After dispatching Sivasspor in a tie that never really felt all that close, Fiorentina have advanced to the quarterfinals of the Conference League and will take on Polish side Lech Poznań. The Kolejorz are no joke, having rolled past Dinamo Batumi (Kvara Karatshkelia’s old side), Vikingur Reykjavík, Dudelange, Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Austria Wien, and Djurgårdens (and Villarreal in the group stage), but Fiorentina are now 4 games from the final and 5 from lifting the trophy. The belief is only growing.
Meanwhile, the Viola are also just 3 games away from the Coppa Italia. They’ve got a two-legged tie with Cremonese (the rank outsiders and neutrals’ choice they’ve already beaten twice in Serie A this year), then a final against the winner of Inter Milan and Juventus. After the horror and heartbreak of the 2014 final—a 3-1 loss to Napoli marred by the shooting death of Partenopei fan Ciro Esposito that delayed kickoff—this is the farthest the Viola have gotten in the domestic cup since winning it in 2001.
It’s a testament to the mental toughness of a squad that’s been criticized for uneven performances in Serie A, and it’s evidence of just how good a manager Vincenzo Italiano is. Despite a budget that’s just a fraction of Serie A’s heavyweights, and despite competing on three fronts, Fiorentina could add not just one but two pieces of silverware to a trophy cabinet that hasn’t been opened in decades.
Let’s be real here. The Coppa Italia is, at best, the third objective for the big clubs in Italy every year: the Champions League, the Scudetto, the top four, and maybe even the Europa League are all more prestigious. Similarly, the Conference League has been derided as a Mickey Mouse (Disney don’t sue me that’s free use now) cup, as you’d expect from the third tier of continental competition.
These two competitions don’t really overlap, but still. For the sake of argument, which would you rather win?