clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Here’s Fiorentina’s Conference League group

The Viola have interesting fixtures and some long midweek journeys to look forward to.

UEFA Europa Conference League 2022/23 Group Stage Draw Photo by Kristian Skeie - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

After knocking off Twente in the tensest possible fashion yesterday, Fiorentina were rewarded by watching the Conference League group stage draw. And the gods of the draw were relatively kind: the Viola will face Başakşehir, Heart of Midlothian, and Rīgas Futbola Skola as they set out to win the whole dang thing.

Fiorentina ought to come through this group and advance, although it could be a bit tight. The only real concern is the distance: 1300 km/800 mi to Edinburgh, 2000 km/1250 mi to Istanbul, and 2200 km/1370 mi to Riga, which are significant distances for midweek travel and could impact the squad in both Serie A and the Conference League.

Başakşehir is based in Istanbul and is traditionally one of the smaller clubs in the city, but was purchased by a group with ties to the Turkish ruling party in 2014 and has since risen rapidly through the ranks, finishing as Süper Lig champions in 2020 for the first time. They dropped to 4th last year and had to make their way into the group stage via the playoff, dispatching Maccabi Netanya, Breiðablik, and Royal Antwerp along the way. The Boz Baykuşlar (Grey Owls) also play in the Fatih Terim Stadium, which is fun. They’ve got some familiar faces, too: Mesut Özil, Lucas Biglia, Nacer Chadli, and Stefano Okaka are all around. They play a 4-3-3 featuring quick attackers and a physical approach farther back and have a fair amount of quality throughout the team.

Hearts are based in Edinburgh and are one of the biggest clubs in Scotland outside the Old Firm. They’ve won the league 5 times and the cup 8 times, but most of their success was in the 1960s, and they’ve been relegated twice 2014. They went down in 2020 as well but bounced right back the next year, winning the second tier at a canter, and then finished 3rd by a wide margin, earning qualification directly into the group stage. They play a fluid 3-4-2-1, anchored by legendary goalkeeper Craig Gordon. They’ve also got Australia internationals Kyle Rowes and Nathan Atkinson.

Rīgas Futbola Skola (FKS for short) are based in the Latvian capital. Originally founded in 1962, they were reestablished in 2011 and earned promotion to the top flight in 2016. They won the whole thing in 2020-2021 and finished 3rd last year. They lost to Gent in the Champions League qualifying rounds but went through Hibernians (much to Hearts’ supporters’ delight) and Linfield. As the rank outsiders in the group, they’ll likely stick to their 4-4-2 and make themselves tough to break down, hoping to snatch points on the counter. They boast a strong spine comprised of Latvia internationals and will likely be tougher than anyone expects.

Complete draw

Group A

Başakşehir (Turkey)

Fiorentina (Italy)

Heart of Midlothian (Scotland)

FKS (Latvia)

Group B

West Ham United (England)

FCSB (Romania)

Anderlecht (Belgium)

Silkeborg (Denmark)

Group C

Villarreal (Spain)

Hapoel Beer-Sheva (Israel)

Austria Wien (Austria)

Lech Poznán (Poland)

Group D

Partizan (Serbia)

Köln (Germany)

Nice (France)

Slovácko (Czechia)

Group E

AZ (Netherlands)

Apollon Limassol (Cyprus)

FC Vaduz (Liechtenstein)

Dnipro-1 (Ukraine)

Group F

Gent (Belgium)

Molde (Norway)

Shamrock Rovers (Ireland)

Djurgårdens (Sweden)

Group G

Slavia Praha (Czechia)

CFR Cluj (Romania)

Sivasspor (Turkey)

Ballkani (Kosovo)

Group H

FC Basel (Switzerland)

Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia)

Žalgiris (Lithuania)

Pyunik (Armenia)