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Wednesday February 17 2021
Lazio must enjoy the moment

Lazio are the underdogs in their home Champions League match against Bayern Munich, but Lorenzo Bettoni believes Simone Inzaghi’s side must enjoy the moment as all the pressure will be on the Bavarians.

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.

@lorebetto

Have your say...
spell in doldrums. Italian clubs have been better on transfer market, overall, but bar Chiesa, best 3 Italians in CL atm all play for Paris! Juve must be kicking themselves for not keeping at least 1 of either Keane or Coman? Here's hoping Atalanta do themselves justice + turn-up tomoz. The spaces were there for Lazio but it reminded me of Brugge, where they started flapping. Sometimes the occasion can be too much. Bayern remind me of old Milan, where most sides r beaten before they get on pitch
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 10:55pm
By, I need a pick me up after that. I'd watch an old Laurel + Hardy show but it'll probably give me flashbacks of Lazio's D tryin to play out from back! Still, they've done well even getting there considering all injuries in group stage + they're better than what they showed tonight. Juve was only Italian side in top 10 for goals scored in CL + Lazio have gone joint 10th with Liverpool on 12 now. They might need to be a bit braver, but it'll probably take a few years after what seems such a long
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 10:44pm
@FERBAN: you are going to have to request Marotta to explain the transfer market strategies of the past to us because there have been some dubious decisions made by him.
@Coppainfaccia71: During Calciopoli, Inter's Facchetti was caught on tape telling the referee "let's win it together" yet nothing happened so i am not surprised.

I am happy for Lazio, they made it to the round of 16 on their first try, some teams burn through owners and take 3-4 years just to do that !!
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 7:51pm
No mention of Beppe Signori having all charges against him for match fixing dropped after 10 years spent clearing his name? Doesn't even make the FI news feed. Shame, he is a legend of Italian Football, especially in the 90's when Football Italia started, capocanoniere 3 times and all round nice guy.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 4:15pm
As long as we don't embarrass ourselves like Roma have so many times at this stage I'll be happy. Bayern have nearly €1billion Euros of talent at their disposal, it should be a walkover but there may be circumstances, such as Bayern's heavy schedule that could play in our favour. Even if Lazio somehow get a result tonight Bayern have a month to recover players and turn it around. The Inter game showed we can play but are lacking that killer pass that we had when we destroyed Juve twice last year
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 4:06pm
I couldn't agree more about Bayern being the favorites, but one can't count out Lazio. Bayern play a high defensive line which leaves space at the back for Lazio to exploit as they often do clinically. Defensively, my concern has less to do with Acerbi/Lewandowski (he marked him very well in the Italy/Poland matchups of the Nations League, but rather how the other defenders (Patric, Musacchio, Hoedt) will cope with the rest of their attack. Not having Luiz Felipe at his disposal is massive.
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 3:07pm
Lazio are distant second-favourites to go through in this tie against probably the best team in Europe, but they still have hope.

Bayern's defence isn't great, especially if Boateng is playing, and if they take their chances they could cause an upset.

Problem is, down at the other end it's very hard to see them stop Bayern and the great Lewandowski especially.

Juve could have won the CL if they'd managed to sign him on a Bosman instead of spending the ridiculous 90m on Higuain 2 years later
on the 23rd February, 2021 at 1:09pm

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