Fiorentina v Basel Preview: New Viola coach faces former side

Date:16th September 2015 at 9:36pm
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Fiorentina welcome Basel to the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Thursday evening in the opening group match of the Europa League.

In a special match for Viola boss Paulo Sousa as the Portuguese coach comes up against the side he led to the Swiss Super League title last season.

Sousa’s new outfit have started the season in decent form, picking up two wins from their opening three Serie A games, the latest being a 1-0 victory over Genoa on Saturday afternoon.

The reigning Swiss champions have begun the season in irresistible form, winning their opening eight league games and looking a good bet to retain their championship.

Basel were, however, knocked out the Champions League last month in a play-off against Maccabi Tel Aviv. They drew both games against the Israeli side but went out on away goals.

This will be the first meeting between the two sides in European competition, with the Viola hopeful of netting the first win between the two sides.

A major positive for Fiorentina from the weekends game was the successful return of Giuseppe Rossi, who lasted an hour and displayed some nice touches. It is unlikely the former Villarreal star will get a start against Basel with Nikola Kalinic expected to regain his spot.

Summer acquisition Mario Suarez is also expected to start in the holding midfield role, while wide man Jakub Blaszczykowski will also be pressing the boss to gain a place from the off on the right wing.

Meanwhile, a return to Florence beckons for Basel midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic, who spent time at the club from 2007-09, while Walter Samuel and Birkir Bjarnason are also set for a return to the peninsula.

Form Guide: Fiorentina (W-L-W) Basel (D-W-D-W-W)

Expected Starting XIs

Fiorentina: Tatarusanu; Tomovic, Astori, Roncaglia, Alonso; Suarez, Fernandez; Bernardeschi, Ilicic, Gilberto; Kalinic

Basel: Vaclik; Xhaka, Suchy, Hoeegh, Traore; Kuzmanovic, Bjarnason, El Nenny; Zuffi, Embolo, Gashi