Lazio have qualified for the last 16 stage of the Champions League for the first time in 20 years this season and it's already a significant achievement itself.
They finished runner-up in group F behind Borussia Dortmund, ahead of Zenit St. Petersburg and Club Brugge and remained unbeaten against the Bundesliga giants.
It’s no coincidence Bayern Munich boss Hans-Dieter Flick reminded his team how brilliant Lazio were against their domestic rivals.
The Biancocelesti have had a slow start to their Serie A season. One tends to forget they were credible Serie A title challengers only one year ago before the COVID pandemic began.
The trend of the current campaign seems to be a mirror image compared to 2019-20.
Lazio are finding consistency in the second part of the campaign, opposite to what happened last season.
They won seven of their nine Serie A games since the new year began, including a 3-0 win in the Rome derby and a 3-1 victory away at Atalanta, one of the most in-form Serie A teams.
With that in mind, Bayern should be aware Lazio can beat anyone on their day.
Flick must also deal with absentees: Niklas Sule travelled with the team to Rome, but didn’t yesterday and is not likely to be available.
Benjamin Pavard and Thomas Muller are out of action with COVID. Alexander Nubel, Corentin Tolisso, Douglas Costa and Serge Gnabry are injured.
But Bayern remain one of the best teams in Europe, possibly the best. Italy’s World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi said last week the Bavarians and Manchester City are the favourite to win the Champions League, and he is probably right.
Despite their many absentees, they remain the clear favourites in Rome, but Lazio don’t start off beaten. They have nothing to lose, and they must enjoy the moment as much as they can.
The likes of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Luis Alberto, Francesco Acerbi and Ciro Immobile are still quite underrated outside Serie A and the same is true of Aquile’s coach Inzaghi.
For them, this night can be the one to prove they are among the elite of European football.
Lazio don’t have the pressure to qualify for the next round, but Inzaghi hinted they want to be in the race when they travel to Germany for the reverse fixture in two weeks.
They’ve already achieved something massive, and now they can go the extra mile without pressure and playing their football. A privilege that doesn’t happen every day.