Europa League: Fiorentina v Borussia Monchengladbach Preview


Fiorentina and Borussia Monchengladbach square off in a second leg round of 32 tie this Thursday evening.

Paulo Sousa pulled off the archetypal ‘Italian Job’ last week, absorbing inordinate amounts of pressure while Bernardeschi blasted them towards victory with a thumping free-kick, an early contender for goal of the tournament. Dieter Hecking’s side were underwhelming, unable to pick apart the stereotypically resistant 3-4-2-1 formation. Both of these sides had disappointing defeats at the weekend and were probably gearing down in anticipation for what is still an extremely open Europa League tie. Monchengladbach’s lacklustre season perhaps hinges on their ability to turn this tie over, and they do have the ability within their squad to do that.

Fiorentina v Borussia Monchengladbach |  Thursday 23 February | Stadio Artemio Franchi | 22:05

To Win (90 Mins)
Fiorentina 14/10 | Draw 9/4 | Borussia Monchengladbach 37/20 

The Viola have an excellent record in the competition, winning four of their last five matches. They rely on a traditional 3-4-2-1 formation that aims to suffocate opponents with more expansive attacking capacity. Tatarusanu had a terrific game last week in the sticks and will likely need to be in similarly inspired form as Monchengladbach search for traction in this tie. Kalinic will lead the line- a rather masochistic role in a system that relies on quick counterattacks.

In possession, Fiorentina will look to boss the midfield and may be relegated to long range efforts again, due to the cohesion of Vestergaard and Christensen. The defensive trio of Astori, Rodriguez and Sanchez will need to be equally vigilant this week. Monchengladbach’s array of attacking fluidity will provide them with width that Fiorentina may struggle to contain.

Borussia Monchengladbach
The Dieter Hecking era has definitely been a general improvement of what came under Andre Schubert. I think that they have greatly missed Raffael going forward. His ability to link all the disparate elements going forward has been essential to the mixed success they have had going forward. Monchengladbach do possess the minor Hazard, who has actually developed tremendously in the last season. But perhaps their greatest threat is club captain Lars Stindl, a sly, inventive player with an eye for goal. He is the ostensible focal point for an attack that is full of pace and invention. Even in the absence of Raffael, Johnson and Herrmann provide great width and skill.

I think Korb will likely come in for Jantschke after a fairly laboured display last week. Christensen and Vestergaard are an experienced central defensive partnership that Fiorentina are going to find hard to break down. In reality, Fiorentina were relegated to long range efforts for most of the match. The midfield duo of Kramer and Dahoud will likely sacrifice a lot of midfield ascendancy as Monchengladbach look to create width and get in behind Fiorentina.

Verdict: Monchengladbach 37/20
I actually think that the German side will progress. Fiorentina were extremely fortunate in the first leg and showed a distinct lack of cutting edge. They needed an excellent defensive performance and a possessed keeper to keep the German side at bay. Monchengladbach will have learnt from last week’s stonewall and should come up with solutions to pick Fiorentina apart.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.

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