In irresistible form in Serie A and having won seven out of their last eight league matches, Lazio have certainly been one of the finest teams in Italy.
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Playing with confidence, conviction and clarity, Simone Inzaghi’s men have impressively registered wins over some quality teams including AS Roma, Sassuolo and Atalanta during their purple patch.
Well drilled by their organised Italian manager, the players have executed his demands to perfection of late on both sides of the ball. Producing the goods and on top of their game, the Eagles are primed to push Bayern Munich all the way in their Champions League Round of 16 clash.
While Bayern are heavy favourites at 1.07 and Lazio are extreme underdogs at 7.00, the match should be much closer than the bookies suggest. Extremely dogged and hard to break down, their well drilled backline should provide tough resistance to Bayern’s star studded attacking unit. Experienced and battle hardened, the likes of Francesco Acerbi, Stefan Radu, Luiz Felipe (currently injured), Patric, Wesley Hoedt and Mateo Musacchio ensure they have quality and depth at centre back.
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Intense and fierce in their duels, they relish battles on the ground and in the air, as they compete manfully in their quests to recover possession.
A smart pressing team also, you can guarantee Inzaghi will come prepared to combat the German champions, as they harry opponents in a coordinated, organised fashion.
Meanwhile, on the offensive end, they’re not to be underestimated either, for sharp shooter Ciro Immobile always poses a huge threat with his clinical movement and finishing. The Italian striker is then ably supported by the likes of Luis Alberto, Joaquin Correa, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Felipe Caicedo, who offer varying degrees of creativity and physicality.
The formidable Alberto and Milinkovic-Savic in midfield will usually be joined by someone like Lucas Leiva or Gonzalo Escalante, who provides defensive security and structural stability to allow them to shine in more attacking areas.
Plenty of thrust notably arrives from the wingbacks, with Adam Marusic and Manuel Lazzari never shy in going forward to add width and depth to attacks, which vitally stretches opposition backlines.
Having coached Lazio since 2016 and developed his team into a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball, Bayern will need to be on top of their game to oust the Italian outfit. Despite heading into the match as clear underdogs, it was interesting to hear former player Giuseppe Pancaro speak how highly he rates this team. “I like this Lazio a lot. I have the feeling that they can also have their say in the fight for the title, just as I think Bayern Munich must be careful. I don’t think that double game is obvious, if Lazio is in good shape, it can do well against anyone in Europe.”
Upon considering Bayern haven’t been at their best and conceding goals with regularity, Lazio certainly have a fighting chance to cause an upset. Only time will tell if they, in fact, can, but they’ll definitely come out firing ready to defy the odds and progress to the quarter finals.