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Lazio in pole position to see off Stuttgart

Published: Friday 8 March 2013, 2.05CET
Only a fine away record this season offers VfB Stuttgart any hope as they head to Rome for the conclusion of their round of 16 tie against S.S. Lazio trailing 2-0.
Lazio in pole position to see off Stuttgart
Shinji Okazaki despairs during Stuttgart's first-leg defeat ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 8 March 2013, 2.05CET

Lazio in pole position to see off Stuttgart

Only a fine away record this season offers VfB Stuttgart any hope as they head to Rome for the conclusion of their round of 16 tie against S.S. Lazio trailing 2-0.

S.S. Lazio look to be in an imperious position as VfB Stuttgart come south for their UEFA Europa League round of 16 decider, with the Roman side 2-0 up from the away leg.

• Ederson and Ogenyi Onazi struck in Stuttgart to give Lazio a 2-0 win in the first leg – their first competitive victory on German soil – in what was the sides' first UEFA competition meeting.

Previous meetings
• Lazio's record in nine games against German clubs is W4 D3 L2 (W3 D1 L0 at home). They have yet to lose to Bundesliga opponents in Rome and eliminated another German side, VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach, in the round of 32, winning 2-0 at home after a 3-3 draw in Germany.

• Stuttgart have yet to win in five visits to Italy. Their record in ten games against Italian sides is W2 D3 L5 (W0 D2 L3 in Italy). Those matches include the two-legged final of the 1988/89 UEFA Cup, which they lost 5-4 on aggregate to SSC Napoli.

• Stuttgart have not won in their last five games against Serie A opponents since a 3-1 home win against AC Perugia in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

• Stuttgart also lost 1-0 to Napoli in the first round of the 1969/70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – the non-UEFA affiliated precursor to the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League.

Match background
• Lazio are unbeaten in 11 European games this season (W7 D4). In their five European home games this season (W4 D1) they have conceded just once and have kept four successive clean sheets at the Stadio Olimpico.

• Lazio most recently reached the last 16 of a major European tournament in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup, beating Wisła Kraków en route to a semi-final defeat against FC Porto.

• Stuttgart have not won a UEFA Europa League home game (D3 L2) since the play-offs but have won three of their four matches on the road, all by margins of two goals or more. They have scored three goals at the VfB Arena in that period and nine away.

• Stuttgart have not featured in the last 16 since the advent of the UEFA Cup group stage in 2004/05. Their last appearance at this stage of a UEFA competition came in 2009/10, when they lost out to FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.

Team facts
• Stuttgart full-back Gotoku Sakai celebrates his 22nd birthday on the day of the game and team-mate Tamás Hajnal turns 32 the morning afterwards.

• Lazio have joined FC Internazionale Milano and FC Viktoria Plzeň as the highest scorers left in this season's UEFA Europa League, with 16 goals since the start of the group stage.

• Lazio boast German talent in the form of Miroslav Klose; Stuttgart defender Georg Niedermeier played in the reserve team at FC Bayern München while Klose (2004-07) was starring for the first XI.

• Stuttgart's Italian left-back Cristian Molinaro played for Salernitana Sport (2002-05), AC Siena (2005-07) and Juventus (2007-09) before moving to Germany: he and Lazio's Abdoulay Konko played together at Siena (2006-07).

• On loan from Manchester United FC, Stuttgart forward Federico Macheda was born in Rome and came through Lazio's youth team before leaving for England in September 2007. He briefly played in Serie A on loan at UC Sampdoria in 2010/11, a spell that included a 20-minute cameo in a 1-0 league defeat at Lazio.

• Lazio defender André Dias celebrates his 34th birthday on the day of the UEFA Europa League final – 15 May.

• Libor Kozák is level with FC Internazionale Milano's Rodrigo Palacio and Raúl Bobadilla – who moved to FC Basel 1893 in January after scoring five in the group stage for BSC Young Boys – in second place in this season's UEFA Europa League scorers rankings, with five goals each. SSC Napoli's Edinson Cavani tops the table with seven.

• Goalkeeper Sven Ulreich is the only player to have featured in every minute of Stuttgart's nine games since the start of the group stage – 810 minutes in total.

• Stuttgart have been losing finalists in major UEFA competitions twice: they lost to Napoli in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup final and Chelsea FC in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

• Lazio's biggest success in this competition came when they reached the 1998 UEFA Cup final, losing 3-0 to Serie A rivals Inter in Paris.

• Lazio's coach since June has been Vladimir Petković, who won a Yugoslavian title as a midfielder with hometown club FK Sarajevo in 1984/85 before moving to Switzerland, where he played at a lower level and coached AC Bellinzona, BSC Young Boys and FC Sion, as well as moving to Turkey to take charge of Samsunspor.

• Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia played up front for some of Germany's top clubs – Hamburger SV, FC Bayern München and SV Werder Bremen among others – and is the only player to have scored more than 100 goals in both of Germany's top divisions. Since starting his coaching career at hometown side SV Darmstadt 98, he has been in charge at Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Hamburg, taking over at Stuttgart in 2010.

Penalty shoot-outs
• Lazio have never featured in a penalty shoot-out in UEFA competition.

• Stuttgart's shoot-out record is:
4-2 v Real Sociedad de Fútbol, 1988/89 UEFA Cup quarter-final.

Last updated: 11/03/13 18.18CET

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