Wednesday Apr 25, 2018  
  21/02/2013: Preview: Lazio - Borussia Mönchengladbach
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In the middle of a run of poor form Lazio will tonight try to spark some hope for the remainder of the season by advancing in the Europa League. Petkovic’s lads have had a hard time keeping it tight at the back, a 3-3 draw away to Borrusia Mönchengladbach was followed by a 3-0 loss to Siena and before that Lazio have dropped points against both Genoa and Napoli through late goals scored by the opposition.

The first leg was a dramatic encounter with the Germans receiving three penalties, two caused by a red-carded Dias, and one goal on a set piece from outside the penalty area. At the other end Lazio scored on three well sent crosses in a game where the Italians opted for a two man attack and punished the opposition exploiting the weakest aspect of the German defence.

From praise and support for Lazio anno 2012/2013 and coach Petkovic the tide has changed and the whole group became subject of heavy criticism after the weak display against Siena on Monday. Advancing in Europe would make the wounds heal quicker as fighting on three fronts does bring the sort of fatigue that is being portrayed at the moment. The lack of quality alternatives on the bench is becoming evident and with Klose out Lazio simply struggle to win games. The Bomber will be absent tonight again, as will the main assist provider Mauri.

Tonight’s visitors are not in any better shape, with a loss to Hamburg in the weekend being the last result recorded. Coach Favre was happy about the way the players continued fighting and managed to turn the game against Lazio around after going 2-1 down, but at the same time pointed out the same problem that returned against Hamburg, where his team concede too easily and let the opponents create too many chances through the game.

One of the topics being discussed most frequently in regard to the match is the participation of the fans. Last week the home team was heavily supported by around 50.000 cheering fans and Stadio Olimpico is expected to get around one fifth of the fans as visitors tonight. On the other hand, the ticket sales amongst the Romans have not peaked and as things look at this moment there will be a tight race between the number of home versus visiting fans. The decrease of form is keeping Lazio fans away from visiting the stadium, as is the earlier kick-off time of 19.00 CET. Not an excuse, says Petkovic, who has been calling for the fans to come to the arena and show their support of what he is convinced will be a “Return of the real Lazio. The Lazio we have come to love.”.

Lazio will advance with any win, 0-0. 1-1 and 2-2 draws, while a 3-3 draw would being the game to extra time. The visitors will need to win the game or get a 4-4 draw or more in order to advance, so the odds are on Lazio’s side as losing against German opposition in Italy is a feeling no Lazio side have come across. Gladbach’s record against Italian opposition is fairly optimistic for the side though, with the last beating against any team from the peninsula stemming back to 1974.

Further statistics that adds an edge to the game is that Lazio are unbeaten in Europe in the nine games played this year and have only conceded one goal at home, while the German representatives have scored at least two goals in all their games this season in Europe. In other words, the game includes all ingredients to become an interesting and dramatic encounter for the spectators and surely the fans of each side will be living through at least 90 minutes of stress this evening.

Possible lineups;

Lazio: Marchetti, Konko, Biava, Ciani, Radu; Ledesma; Candreva, Gonzalez, Hernanes, Lulic; Floccari.

Borussia Mönchengladbach: ter Stegen, Jantschke, Stranzl, Dominguez, Wendt, Marx, Nordtveit, Cigerci, Arango, Herrmann, de Jong.

Author: Khashayar Kashefi
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