After weeks of waiting, Fiorentina finally knows who its opponent in the Conference League playoff will be. With the 3rd round of the playoff finished, there were 17 potential options. Fenerbahçe, Lille, Dynamo Kyiv, and Midtjylland were the heavyweights, all ranked above the Viola per the UEFA coefficient. A reunion with Hearts of Midlothian would’ve been nice, too, given how lovely the fans were last year. Instead, though, it’ll be Austrian giants Rapid Wien.
The first leg will be played on Thursday, 24 August 2023, in Vienna, with the return leg at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence. As a reminder, the away goals rule no longer applies, so the highest scorer progresses to the group stage draw. Unlike last year, VAR will be in use from this point in the Conference League forward, so it’ll be more difficult to get away with skulduggery than it was last time around.
As a reminder, Fiorentina faced Twente at this stage last season, emerging 2-1 winners after taking the first leg by that scoreline and then hanging on in Enschede despite an Igor red card. Once again, the Viola will have to start their squad rotation early: the first leg falls between the season opener at Genoa and the home opener against Lecce, while the second leg falls between the Lecce match and a date at the San Siro with Inter Milan.
This is where the arduous slog to another final begins. Let’s hope the boys can use there experience in this competition and make it count.