On Tuesday night, OL can rubber stamp their pass to the last 16 of the Champions League if they bring back a point from Florence. This would avoid them any unnecessary problems going into the final group match...
Inversely, OL only need to take one more point in order to win qualification to the last 16 and find themselves without of reach of the Italians before the final group stage match against Bayern on the 10th of December. And if by misfortune, the seven times French Champions lost on the banks of the Arno, nothing would be finished, as far as a qualification is concerned, they could even finish top of the group and all of that without having to worry about Fiorentina’s result in Bucharest.
Could these statistics influence the encounter , will the Italians attack and the French sit back? Nothing is less sure … Fiorentina generally like to let their opponents control the ball in order to surprise and catch them out. In Gilardino, they have a striker of great skill; a forward who can do a lot more than just score goals. Nobody has forgotten his performance in the first match! The Viola are dependant, just as OL are with Benzema, of his goalscoring prowess . As they can also count on Mutu, Santana, Kuzmanovic, Montolivo, Melo… In goal Frey is capable of keeping things tight, protected by the duo Danielli-Gamberini. The Viola, are a solid side , especially at home where they remain unbeaten in theLeague and Champions League. At the weekend they beat Udinese 4 - 2.
Will OL, who are still unbeaten, be content to sit back and wait for a counter attacking opportunity? Are they capable of doing so? Or will they prefer taking the game into their own hands? After around twenty matches of the Claude Puel era, the two scenario are both possible. OM, without contestation, have the upper hand . Qualified as they walk out onto the pitch, they have no reason to hurry things or be hasty. This should push OL’s coach to start, as is his wan in the Champions League, with a three man midfield. Afterwards, where will he position Karim Benzema? On the left, as in the first encounter between the two sides, or in the centre? Fiorentina’s left back Zauri is as solid in defence as he is going forward. At the same time we know that OL can modify their formation depending on how the encounter is playing out.
This journey to Tuscany could be synonymous with the delight of a mission completed, 90 minutes before the end of the group stage. It would be a welcome change from the suspense of last seasons trip to Scotland where OL played for all or nothing.