Last season’s UEFA Europa Conference League runners up, Fiorentina, will look to go one step further this time around and they start their campaign with an away trip to KRC Genk. The tie should be tightly contested and both sides will be confident that they can claim three points.
KRC Genk started their European campaign in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers just two months ago, yet they are now going to be playing in the Europa Conference League after also losing the Europa League playoff. Wouter Vrancken’s side have been struggling at times this season but last weekend’s 2-0 victory away to Union Saint-Gilloise will have most definitely boosted the morale in camp. They displayed defensive resilience from the opening goal in the 16th minute, which is good practice for Thursday as they may need to replicate it against Fiorentina.
Seven different players have scored this season for Genk, which highlights how they are a threat from all over the field, making them far less predictable in attack. Their biggest creative outlet has been Joseph Paintsil, with the Ghana midfielder accumulating three assists in four starts this season and they must get him into the game if Genk are to have a chance against their Italian opponent.
Vincenzo Italiano’s Fiorentina have been the most entertaining team to watch in the Serie A this season, with their matches witnessing plenty of goalmouth action. La Viola have averaged 4.5 overall goals per match this season, with their most recent tennis like football match ending in a 3-2 victory against Atalanta. Furthermore, they have shown that their attacking approach will remain regardless of the opposition, which may make them vulnerable away from home, the 4-1 victory over Genoa and the 4-0 defeat to inter serves as evidence.
Fiorentina’s star player in the run to the final last season was Sofyan Amrabat, who has now moved to Manchester United. However, Alfred Duncan has stepped up in his absence and impressed, not just off the ball but in the attacking third also. The midfielder has registered two assists and scored once this season and he will be hoping to positively impact the game on Thursday.
Both sides like to attack and make it their priority, this tie look like a thriller on paper. Fiorentina have more quality in their squad and could just edge the tie, but Genk will have the home advantage.
The final prediction is KRC Genk 1-2 Fiorentina.