The Gigliati’s fairytale run in the Champions League has come to the end after German powerhouse Bayern Munich brought to a scorching halt the club’s progress in the Round of 16 thanks to the away-goals rule. Fiorentina was undone mostly by their shaky and disjointed defensive line which looked in shambles over the two legs again the Bavarian club. To make matters worse the German club’s star duo Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben roamed freely on the wings and caused endless problems for la Viola. Dutchman Robben was particularly impressive scoring from a marvelous strike to ensure Bayern went through at the expense of the unfortunate Italian club.
The refereeing mistakes in Munich certainly conditioned the outcome of the tie but the woeful decisions by the officiating crew during the first-leg must not overshadow the obvious weaknesses in the back-line which is in need desperate need of an experienced as well as commanding centre-back capable of injecting some confidence and experience to the side. The exit at the hand of Bayern created more questions as opposed to just negative consequences from the undeserved exit in Europe. The future of the charismatic Cesare Prandelli is looking increasingly uncertain given Fiorentina’s exit in Europe which almost guarantees the Gigliati will miss the Champions League next season considering the poor domestic form placing la Viola outside the top four positions.
The future of coach Prandelli is not the only concern because the lack of Champions League football will likely give clubs pursuing the side’s stars an extra impetus to aggressively lure some of the better talents such as Stevan Jovetic, Alberto Gilardino and Juan Manuel Vargas away from Florence. Jovetic was a key contributor in Florence as his two strikes ensured Fiorentina’s players exited the competition with their pride intact. With the game 1-0 in the Gigliati’s favour Alberto Gilardino wasted a golden opportunity to give the Florence based side a 2-0 win and heap more pressure on Bayern’s players. Despite his missed opportunity from point blank range which was saved by Bayern’s goalkeeper, Gilardino had a hand in both of Jovetic’s strikes.
The Italy’s striker is only twenty-seven years old which is considered as an ideal age for strikers nearing the prime of their career. Gilardino’s scoring has dwindled in recent weeks but he will soon rediscover his killer instinct in front of goal as shown by his torrid run prior to the end of 2009 when he single-handedly presented the Azzurri with qualification to the World Cup courtesy of a crucial strike against the Republic of Ireland and a hat-trick against Cyprus. Alberto was scoring freely for the Gigliati as well during the same period so his current shortcomings will likely be shelved once he begins to find the back of the net on a regular basis.
Gilardino is probably the least likely of the main stars to leave because Peruvian Vargas who scored with a delightful strike the opener against the Bavarians has been pursued by Real Madrid who have made it clear they intend to launch a bid to secure his services. If la Viola fails to finish inside the top four in Serie A (which is looking increasingly likely) then the club might have to sell if a lucrative offer is placed by the Spanish giants. With the latest rumours linking Prandelli with a move to take charge of the Bianconeri a number of players who have been nurtured by the influential coach will likely jump ship.
One particular name which stands above all others is Jovetic’s given the Montenegrin’s impressive performances this season, particularly in Europe against bigger clubs such as Liverpool and Bayern Munich. The emerging youngster showed his class in Florence and took his brace against the Bavarians in an expertly manner which belies his age. He has been linked with a plethora of elite clubs across Europe and despite claiming he wants to remain in Florence he will likely depart if Prandelli leaves and Fiorentina fails to make the Champions League next season.
The challenge for la Viola begins with the trip to Napoli this weekend as the players will have the hard task of forgetting about the European exit and turning their attention to making a late push for the coveted fourth spot. The Gigliati is still in the Coppa Italia and perhaps overcoming Inter in April will be a consolation as it presents the club with the opportunity to play for a trophy after a promising early campaign began to unravel due to injuries, fixture congestion and destabilising transfer rumours.
Fiorentina Club Focus
Viola continue to grind out results – September 15, 2009
La Viola lose Gilardino and the points – September 18, 2009
Fatigue catching up with la Viola – September 22, 2009
Della Valle Resigns as Fiorentina triumph over Sampdoria – September 25, 2009
La Viola finally win away as De Silvestri makes debut – September 29, 2009
The beginning of the Jovetic era in Florence? – October 2, 2009
Two points lost and a wasted opportunity – October 6, 2009
Good news all round – October 9, 2009
International Week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)
Transfer rumours abound as Gilardino fires la Nazionale to South Africa – October 13, 2009
Gilardino shines again as la Viola eye the Bianconeri’s scalp – October 16, 2009
La Viola holds firm against Juventus – October 20, 2009
Crucial win over Debrecen, Manchester United prepare bid for Jovetić? – October 23, 2009
La Viola going through a rough patch – October 30, 2009
Marchionni brace completes Fiorentina rebound – November 3, 2009
Prandelli and co. march on against Debrecen – November 6, 2009
La Viola edge Udinese as Marchionni and Montolivo earn Azzurri recall – November 10, 2009
Vargas to stay as Prandelli praises Jovetic – November 20, 2009
Injuries taking their toll as Lyon clash looms – November 24, 2009
la Viola through to the round of 16 in Europe – November 28, 2009
La Viola’s resistance broken from the penalty spot – December 1, 2009
Must-win game to remain close to Champions League spots – December 4, 2009
Race for fourth continues as Fiorentina travel to Anfield – December 8, 2009
Historic win as Tifosi give warm reception – December 11, 2009
Precious points dropped as fatigue and injuries mount – December 15, 2009
Viola prepare for Milan’s arrival and Mutu’s departure – December 18, 2009
Snow postpones Milan clash – December 22, 2009
Calm holiday period despite transfer reports – December 29, 2009
Reinforcements wanted – January 5, 2010
Ideal start for 2010 as the Gigliati begin a push to climb the table – January 8, 2010
Mutu’s timely return to form – January 12, 2010
La Viola continue on the right track on and off the pitch – January 15, 2010
A step back but Bolatti set to join – January 19, 2010
La Viola march on in Coppa Italia as Mutu strikes twice – January 22, 2010
Serie A inconsistency continues as Palermo are victorious in Sicily – January 26, 2010
Adrian Mutu in trouble once again? – January 29, 2010
The schedule only gets tougher from here on for la Viola – February 5, 2010
Bleeding points – February 9, 2010
Crisis continues in Florence albeit fuelled by incorrect refereeing decisions – February 19, 2010
The Gigliati finally win yet worrying signs remain evident – February 22, 2010
Overlooked penalty sees the Gigliati lose despite a gritty performance – February 26, 2010