Europa Conference League preview and betting tips: Basel can push Fiorentina all the way

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Fiorentina will be seen as the clear favourite in their two-legged Europa Conference League semifinal against Basel. Despite that, the team from Switzerland have outperformed expectations this season in Europe and possess the experience to make this a tricky tie.

Fiorentina vs FC Basel (Thursday, May 11, 20:00 kick-off)

The sides have only met twice in European competition, but it's Basel who holds the head-to-head advantage. In the 2017 Europa League group stages, Basel managed a 2-1 win in Fiorentina and a 2-2 on home soil. Vincenzo Italiano's Fiorentina side are currently the highest scorer in this year's Europa Conference League with 32 goals. On top of that, the Viola have the competition's most deadly duo. Arthur Cabral and Luka Jovic have scored six goals each. Despite winning 4-1 away against Lech Poznan in their Conference League quarterfinal, Fiorentina made hard work of the home leg, where they lost 3-2. At one stage, Lech Poznan led 3-0. They can't afford to slip up at home to Basel. Their goalscoring record suggests they won't. The hosts have scored at least one goal in each of their last 15 home matches in Europe and were previously unbeaten at home in this competition. A victory over Basel would see Fiorentina play in a continental final for the first time in 33 years break. Domestically, Fiorentina have struggled. They currently sit 8th in Serie A on 46 points and lost their last match 1-0 to champions Napoli. They've picked up just one win in their last seven matches, a 5-0 win against relegated Sampdoria.

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Suggested Bet: FC Basel +1.25 Asian handicap

They'll need to show better form in this tie and they certainly can't underestimate Basel. The Swiss side have featured 32 times in the Europa Conference League, more than any other side in its short history. It's also worth noting that they have a decent record against Serie A teams in UEFA competitions, taking 10 points from their last six group-stage matches against Italian sides.

Heiko Vogel's side produced quite a surprise in the previous round. After drawing 2-2 at home with Nice, they were able to keep things tight and pinch a 2-1 away win in extra time to secure their progression. If they were to upset the odds again here, Basel would become the first Swiss team to compete in a major European final. Basel are struggling in the Swiss league, but they don't seem to have carried that form over to European competition. The visitors suffered a 2-0 defeat to Zurich last weekend and currently sit 5th on 42 points. Basel are used to challenging for titles and European qualification is usually a given, so they'll want to make the most of this second chance route into next year's Europa League. We think that Basel can score and push Fiorentina in the first leg.

Suggested Bet: Both teams to score

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