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Sevilla v Fiorentina preview

Sevilla FC have won their last eight European home games, with ACF Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella calling them "a complete team" ahead of Thursday's first leg.

Unai Emery presides over Sevilla's training session on Wednesday
Unai Emery presides over Sevilla's training session on Wednesday ©AFP/Getty Images

Holders Sevilla host Fiorentina in first leg of UEFA Europa League semi-final
Sevilla coach Unai Emery: "Both teams can write a new chapter in their history"
Sevilla have won last eight European home games – including all six this season
Fiorentina are unbeaten in last 12 European away fixtures, winning eight
Sevilla hoping to become first side to win UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League four times

Possible lineups
Sevilla: Rico; Coke, Carriço, Kolodziejczak, Trémoulinas; Banega, Krychowiak; Aleix Vidal, Iborra, Vitolo; Bacca.
Doubtful: Beto (shoulder)
Out: Pareja (knee)

Fiorentina: Neto; Tomović, Savić, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Alonso; Borja Valero, Pizarro, Fernández; Joaquín, Salah, Gomez.
Out: Babacar (knee), Rossi (knee)

Unai Emery, Sevilla coach
We have to pay attention to Mario Gomez, Mohamed Salah, Borja Valero and Marcos Alonso when he gets forward. Fiorentina are coming to the end of a very good season – we are two similar teams, looking at the trophies both clubs have won, so it is an even tie. Fiorentina have eliminated three great teams – Tottenham, Roma and Dynamo Kyiv. They also have plenty of good players – I know Joaquín very well as I had him at Valencia.

As for the AC Milan rumours in the newspapers, I have to say I am very happy in Seville and only thinking about this tie against Fiorentina. This is a special moment as both teams can write a new chapter in their history. The past is very nice but it is the past. The most important thing is the here and now, and right now we are two equal sides that want to win this competition. It is a 180-minute tie and we should be ready for it to last even longer.

Six of the best knockout ties
Six of the best knockout ties

Vincenzo Montella, Fiorentina coach
It is a pleasure to play in the semi-finals and to have the chance of reaching the final. I don't think there is a correct way of playing this game as Sevilla are a complete team. They know how to defend, attack and counterattack. They have done very well in Europe in recent seasons so it will be a good match for both teams and their supporters. There will be a good atmosphere which I hope will provide my players with added motivation.

Unai Emery is a great coach – he has proved it in the past and he is doing it again. The first leg is very important, but not decisive as long as there is not a big difference in goals scored. It is an incentive for us if people are considering Sevilla favourites.

Expert predictions
Nick Aitken: Sevilla have won five of their six knockout games this term, but in overcoming VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach, Villarreal CF and FC Zenit, they have certainly not had an easy path to the last four. Their clinical counterattacking means they look more dangerous with a result to protect, which suggests that what might seem an advantage for Fiorentina – i.e. playing the semi-final second leg in Florence – could prove to be the opposite.

Sevilla's greatest goals
Sevilla's greatest goals

Paolo Menicucci: Sevilla have a fantastic pedigree in the competition. "They are the holders and must therefore be considered favourites," Montella said after the draw. However, the Viola have all the cards required to compete, especially if they can claim that potentially crucial away goal in the first leg.

Weekend results
Sevilla 2-3 Real Madrid CF (Bacca 45+2pen, Iborra 79; Ronaldo 36 37 68)
Fiorentina 3-1 AC Cesena (Iličić 31pen 35, Gilardino 56; Rodriguez 59)

Form guide (all comps, most recent first)
Sevilla: LWWDDW
Fiorentina: WLLWLD

Match fact
• Sevilla have never lost a European semi-final, winning all three of their previous last-four ties, but how does Fiorentina's record stack up? Find out in our extensive match background.