Bologna Football Club is one of the three teams that suffered relegation from Serie A to Serie B last term, but is now considered one of the favourites to return to the Italian top-flight. Building a strong team has not been an easy task for the new manager Filippo Fusco though, because of the long-lasting financial problems that put at risk even the enrolment to Serie B last July, and consequentially the mere existence of the club. Financial problems that seem far away, thanks to the new propriety that took over Bologna a month ago. A North American group of investors led by New York lawyer Joe Tacopina, former vice president of AS Roma, along with Canadian billionaire Joey Saputo have breathed fresh life into the club. For a club that have won seven Serie A championships in its history, it deserves to be amongst the elite.
The team built by Fusco with no budget during the summer is performing well and lies sixth in the table, just three points below the league leaders Frosinone. The manager decided to completely alter the former Bologna starting XI to create a brand new team. A mixture of experience and youth has worked a treat, with the team obtaining a decent string of results. Former Cagliari defender, Diego Lopez, has been a welcome addition to the coaching staff and the Uruguayan is helping the side form a solid defensive base.
Ferdinando Coppola; Archimede Morleo (C), Luca Ceccarelli, Domenico Maietta, Marios Oikonomou; Marcel Buchel, Francelino Matuzalem, Franco Zuculini; Karim Laribi; Daniele Cacia, Robert Acquafresca.
Marcel Buchel has been the best player of the term thus far. The 23-year-old who is on-loan from Juventus has proven his worth as a central midfielder. Possessing a strong physique and an excellent technique, he’s been an enforce in the middle of the pitch. He missed the last game against Carpi due to a flu, and his absence was there for all to see as Bologna failed to dominate possession and, inevitably, create goalscoring chances.
Coppola, Maietta, Matuzalem and Cacia guarantee both experience and quality, with youngsters Oikonomou, Buchel and Laribi providing energy and creativity. The latter trio are very gifted players and one would expect them to make their mark in the Serie A sooner rather than later. In particular, Marios Oikonomou (21) is a Greek center-back who stands at 188cm and arrived from Cagliari. He gained a spot in the starting XI, after Liverpool loanee Rafa Paez got injured. His positional awareness and aerial ability are two hallmarks of his game.
The most evident weakness of Rossoblù is in attack. Daniele Cacia – 91 goals in 223 caps in Serie B – has so far scored only three times, while Robert Acquafresca is slowly recovering his old shape after many years of poor performances. Unfortunately, he recently suffered a muscular injury that will see him sidelined for three weeks. Reserves like Gennaro Troianiello, Ruben Bentancourt and Riccardo Pasi haven’t proved themselves worthy of a starting birth, while Riccardo Improta – signed on the last day of the transfer window – only just made his debut in the last gameweek after returning from a metatarsal fracture to his right foot.
Transfer window news:
Fusco is keen on reinforcing his goalscoring options in the transfer window. It’s a key area that must be addressed if Bologna is to stay on track for promotion. With the new owners, acquiring players should hopefully be a straight-forward task.
Rating (out of 5 stars): 4. It’s been a promising term so far and the team appears to gain more confidence with every passing week. If the team can remain a strong and unified outfit then they should have enough quality and determination to stake a genuine claim for an automatic promotion place.