Fiorentina vs. Genoa preview: Contrasting fortunes meet in Florence

Claudio Villa

Fiorentina, now only three points from Milan's third place and the holy grail of Champions League qualification take on Genoa, who had looked to be leaving their relegation woes behind before two straight losses.

Fiorentina's 2-0 victory away at Champions League rivals Lazio last weekend lifted the Viola into fourth, just three points from the all-important third place which Milan currently occupy. The final 10 matches of the season will see Milan and Fiorentina as well as Lazio and Inter fight it out for the chance to compete for the big-eared trophy next season and whilst Milan's resurgence has put them firmly in the driving seat, Fiorentina are not to be discounted. La Viola have been infuriating at times this season, playing some magnificent football but they also went through January without recording a victory and suffered losses to Juventus and Bologna in February. The past two matches have seen form improve with a 2-1 victory over Chievo coming before the victory over Lazio and a combination of versatile players and Vincenzo Montella's tactical nous can see them surprise their opponents by lining up in two possible formations using the same XI. Adem Ljajic and Stevan Jovetic were magnificent in the victory over Lazio and their form could be telling in the race for the Champions League.

In contrast, Genoa enter this match looking pretty downtrodden. A decent run of form through the end of January and the whole of February had seen the Grifone climb five points above the relegation zone however a combination of Siena's recent resurgence and a tough fixture list, throwing up Milan, Roma and now Fiorentina in consecutive weeks, now places Italy's oldest club on the edge, just two points above the drop zone. One crumb of comfort for Genoa fans is that despite losing their last two, the team haven't played particularly badly. Luck went against them in the 3-1 defeat in Rome as Juraj Kucka was harshly sent off and last week they simply happened upon an in-form Milan side. That they take on a Fiorentina side just as they appear to have hit some kind of consistency again shows that nothing appears to be going Genoa's way and they will be hoping for damage limitation here before a humongous six-pointer with Siena after the international break.

With two sides like this, it is difficult to predict how this match will go. Whilst Genoa have lost their last two and Fiorentina have won them, Genoa haven't played particularly badly during this time, whilst Fiorentina have struggled to put a run of results together since the beginning of December however if they repeat last week's performance, they should have no problems and could consign their opponents to the drop zone once again.

Fiorentina have no new injury worries and Mounir El Hamdaoui could be in line for a return whilst Genoa could see Thomas Manfredini and Marco Rossi return, Matuzalem and Ruben Oliveira remain doubts.

Fiorentina Injuries and Suspensions

Out: Ahmed Hegazy, Michele Camporese, Giuseppe Rossi (injured). In doubt: Mounir El Hamdaoui

Genoa Injuries and Suspensions

Out: Lukas Zima, Enis Nadarevic, Antonio Floro Flores (injured). In doubt: Thomas Manfredini, Francelino Matuzalem, Marco Rossi, Ruben Oliveira

Match Date/Time: Sunday 17th March 2013, 15:00 local, 09:00 E.T.

Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence

TV: Sky Calcio 3 (Italy)

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