Europa Conference League predictions: Goals on the agenda in Italy
Thursday brings with it the second leg of the Europa Conference League quarter-final ties and there is still a lot to be played for as the eight remaining teams eye a place in the last-four stage of the competition.
Fiorentina vs Lech Poznan (Thursday 5.45pm)
Fiorentina won the first leg 4-1 in Poland and they followed that up with a 1-1 draw at home to Atalanta in Serie A, extending their unbeaten streak across all competitions to 14 matches.
The Violets have not lost at home in their last seven assignments and are yet to taste defeat in the Europa Conference League at Stadio Artemio Franchi — winning five and drawing one of their six fixtures.
Lech Poznan are unbeaten in their last four away games, in which they have scored eight goals, but they have only won one of their eight away matches in this competition.
With such a healthy lead from the first leg, Fiorentina are unlikely to falter in their pursuit of a semi-final place and they should have enough quality in their ranks to advance.
However, Lech Poznan will need to put in a greater attacking performance in the hope of getting back into the tie and while that could herald a goal at one end, it could also leave them exposed at the back to a quick counter from the hosts.
AZ Alkmaar vs Anderlecht (Thursday, 5.45pm)
Anderlecht secured an important 2-0 home victory in the first leg and while they have since been hammered 5-2 at Genk in the league, all their remaining focus this season is on winning this competition.
The Belgian outfit had won their last three away games before that loss to Genk, while they have also picked up two victories from their last three away Europa Conference League contests.
AZ Alkmaar boast impressive form at home in this competition, as they have never lost any of their 11 fixtures and have only dropped points once when drawing against Bodo/Glimt.
While AZ are a tough nut to crack at home in the Conference League, their standard of performance recently has been concerning and they may struggle to get over the line against Anderlecht.
Brian Riemer's side were solid in the first leg and they should have enough quality to secure their place in the next round, whether that be by gaining another victory or a draw.
Nice vs Basel (Thursday, 8pm)
Nice picked up a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Switzerland but they are still without a win in their last five games across all competitions, having lost 1-0 at Brest over the weekend.
The French side have been stronger at home, losing just one of their last 12 assignments, while they are looking for a third straight win at Allianz Riviera in the Conference League following triumphs over Partizan and Sheriff.
Basel have drawn their last three fixtures and they have not tasted success in the last two away outings, losing 3-0 at Young Boys and then drawing 1-1 at Zurich.
Given Nice have drawn five of their last nine matches and Basel have shared the spoils three times on the spin, these two sides could be set for another tight affair.
There was nothing to separate the duo in the first leg and there could be a repeat of that result, with the contest potentially needing extra-time and penalties to determine a winner.
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