Fiorentina vs West Ham United
Fortuna Arena in Prague forms the backdrop for the second-ever Europa Conference League final as Fiorentina and West Ham United battle it out for the title.
Despite only losing once in six Europa Conference League group-stage matches (W4, D1), Fiorentina finished runners-up in Group A to Istanbul Basaksehir. However, Vincenzo Italiano’s men have defied the expectations in springtime fixtures, overcoming Sporting Braga, Sivasspor, Lech Poznan, and Basel en route to setting up their first appearance in a major European final since a 3-1 aggregate loss to Juventus in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup showpiece event. In doing so, the Italians have tallied a competition-high 36 goals at an average of 2.6 per game, outscoring all other teams in European tournaments this season, including Champions League finalists Manchester City (31). Seeking their first continental silverware since wrapping up the 1960/61 European Cup Winners’ Cup trophy, Fiorentina come into proceedings on the back of back-to-back Serie A wins ‘to one’ over Sassuolo and Roma.
On the other hand, West Ham United’s stellar Europa Conference League campaign saw them finish top of Group B will six triumphs before ousting AEK Larnaca, Gent, and AZ Alkmaar in the knockout stages to book their first European title decider since lifting the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1999. As the only side yet to lose a single Europa Conference League match this term, qualifying to the final (W13, D1), the ‘Hammers’ ought to take the Fortuna Arena pitch in a buoyant mood despite losing both previous European encounters against Italian clubs. With only Fiorentina netting more goals than David Moyes’ team (31) in the competition, the Premier League underachievers have ample grounds to foster ambitious dreams in Prague. However, West Ham slumped to a disappointing 2-1 defeat to relegation boys Leicester City in the ultimate 2022/23 Premier League round, casting doubt on their lofty ambitions on the international front.