Fiorentina vs Qarabag Europa League Preview

Fiorentina vs Qarabag Europa League Preview

Fiorentina vs Qarabag FK is the first meeting between the two clubs in an official UEFA competition. Qarabag, however, had faced Italian competition in the 2014-15 Europa League season when they were drawn in a group with Inter Milan—they lost 2-0 in Italy, and drew 0-0 in Baku.

This is the third season in a row that Qarabag are competing in the Europa League group stage, but their only victory away from Azerbaijan came in 2014 when they beat Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine 1-0.

The Azeri league champion, who are managed by the legendary former Azerbaijan national team player, Gurban Gurbanov, will, therefore, undertake the 3,200 km journey to Italy with the intention of finally getting their first away victory in two years (read more about Qarabag’s history in our full Europa League preview).

Gurbanov, who has been in charge of the club since 2008, has, to date, secured three Azeri league titles for the club in a row. Indeed, Gurbanov is, in many respects, more than a manager at the club, as he has played a significant role at not only in building the current squad, but also in having played for Qarabag.

Furthermore, Gurbanov has also featured in many stories that tell the story of the club’s long exile from their hometown, Agdam. Agdam is located in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the city is currently held by Armenian troops (read more about this here).

Their constant presence in the Europa League group stage has meant that the Horsemen (as the club is often called by its fans) have now become ambassadors from a conflict between the two Caucasus republics, which has largely been forgotten in the western world.

Hence, the Azeri government has ensured that the club is now provided sufficient funding to compete both at home, and abroad, and Gurbanov’s men should provide an interesting challenge to Fiorentina on Thursday night.

Possible Line-ups

ACF Fiorentina:

Formation: 3-4-2-1

Tatarusanu – Rodriguez, De Maio, Tomovic – Milic, Badelj, Sanchez, Tello – Valero, Bernardeschi – Babacar

Manager: Paulo Sosa


Formation: 4-2-3-1

Sehic – Agolli, Guseynov, Medvedev, Sadygov – Garayev, Muarem – Michel, Dani Quintana, Richard – Reynaldo

Manager: Gurban Gurbanov

By Manuel Veth –