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Champions League: Lazio Rome at FC Bayern – angry about the historic opportunity

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Champions League: Lazio Rome at FC Bayern – angry about the historic opportunity

As of: March 4, 2024 5:59 p.m

For FC Bayern Munich, the Champions League is about saving the season. Opponents Lazio Rome, on the other hand, have a rare opportunity and come with a lot of anger in their stomachs.

Actually, Maurizio Sarri’s teams have always been known for a fine style of playing football. The now 65-year-old caused a stir at FC Empoli because he tried to control games with possession even against top teams. Because he did this successfully, his next stops were with SSC Napoli, FC Chelsea and Juventus Turin, top clubs themselves – with each of which he achieved an average points average of over two points per game.

But at Lazio Rome the coach reinvented himself a little. Last season he led “I Biancocelesti” (“The White and Sky Blue”) to the runner-up position and no longer relied so much on possession of the ball, but rather on consistent and disciplined defensive work. The style of play has gone a little more in the direction of the Italian “Catenaccio”, with Sarri opting for a more aesthetic form of defending his own goal than many Italian national teams in the past.

Three expulsions at Bayern dress rehearsal

With 1-0, which is considered an Italian dream result in football, Rome won the first leg against Munich and now has a great chance to complete its best international season. Lazio have only made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League in six previous appearances; in 1999/2000 it only ended against FC Valencia. The Romans were never even included in the competition’s predecessor, the National Champions Cup. So it’s a historic opportunity for Lazio on Tuesday (February 5th, 2024).

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Tuesday, from 9 p.m. – FC Bayern against Lazio Rome arrow right

The Sarri team is forced to approach this with a large amount of anger. Because the recent impressions from Serie A were too drastic to quickly flip the switch before the Champions League second leg and go into the game with great composure. In the 0-1 loss at AC Milan, there were three sending-offs for Lazio players – Luca Pellegrini was shown a yellow-red card, Adam Marusic and Matteo Guendouzi were each shown red cards in stoppage time. This was followed by drastic statements from those responsible, but also a suspension of the referee and a lot of understanding from outside.

Annoying setback in Serie A

The anger still remains, because Lazio still hopes to be able to qualify for Europe in the national league. The Romans are currently only ninth, but due to the defeat – also due to the sending off – the gap to local rivals AS, who are currently in fifth place for qualification for the Europa League, has grown to seven points. The moment for such a supposed injustice was extremely bad.

As a result of last Friday’s card collection, Lazio slipped to last place in the Serie A fairness table – but the Sarri team is far from a kicking team. Bayern should also be able to confirm this, because in the first leg there was not a single card for the Romans, who only committed a total of seven fouls. The group around the central defenders Nicolo Casale and Alessio Romagnoli and the strong goalkeeper Ivan Provedel behind them usually find much fairer ways to defend their goal.

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Lazio rage – curse or blessing?

But how much does Lazio have their own nerves under control in Munich? What happens if the team feels disadvantaged by the referee again – even if it’s just because of a decision about a throw-in? Those responsible for Lazio, led by club boss Claudio Lotito, are slowly starting to lose their nerves. “This has been going on for some time. Either the system is able to correct itself with complete autonomy, or we have to turn to a third authority,” he threatened nebulously.

These words do not yet apply to the Champions League, so there has been no reason to complain so far. And yet the Romans come to Munich with a large portion of anger. The question will be: Will anger paralyze them or light a fire that will take them to the quarterfinals?

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