Nice v Lazio background

Something has to give as Nice welcome Lazio in UEFA Europa League Group K, with both sides having won their opening two fixtures in the section.

Allan Saint-Maximin celebrates a goal for Nice
Allan Saint-Maximin celebrates a goal for Nice ©AFP/Getty Images

Something has to give as Nice welcome Lazio in UEFA Europa League Group K, with both sides having won their opening two fixtures in the section.

Previous meetings
• The teams are meeting for the first time.

• Nice's only previous exposure to Italian clubs was a pair of 2-0 defeats by Napoli in this season's UEFA Champions League play-offs.

• Lazio's record in 16 encounters with French sides reads W6 D4 L6 (W4 D2 L2 in Rome – W2 D2 L4 in France). Those games include a 6-0 loss at Lens in the 1977/78 UEFA Cup second round, their heaviest defeat in UEFA competition.

Highlights: Nice 3-0 Vitesse
Highlights: Nice 3-0 Vitesse

Form guide
• Both teams have won their opening two Group K fixtures.

• Nice, Milan and Zenit are the group stage's leading scorers with eight goals each – an average of four a game. Milan's André Silva, Nice's Alassane Pléa and Zenit's Aleksandr Kokorin share top spot in the individual rankings with four apiece.

• Lazio are unbeaten in six European away matches (W2 D4). They are also undefeated in ten away UEFA Europa League matches, group stage to final (W3 D7) – one short of Fiorentina's competition record.

• Beaten by Napoli in this season's UEFA Champions League play-offs, Nice had already made their UEFA Europa League group stage debut in 2016/17 but failed to reach the round of 32.

• UEFA Cup runners-up in 1998 (and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup winners the following year), Lazio are back in the UEFA Europa League after a one-season absence, having got to the last 16 in 2015/16.

Highlights: Lazio 2-0 Zulte Waregem
Highlights: Lazio 2-0 Zulte Waregem

Trivia and links
• The journey from Rome to Nice is around 470km.

• Lazio need two more goals to reach 200 in UEFA competition: this is their 180th game in Europe.

• The game is taking place the day after Nice defender Dante's 34th birthday.

• Nice's Wesley Sneijder played in Italy with Inter from 2009–13, winning the UEFA Champions League – and a domestic double – in his first term.

• Nice's Italian forward Mario Balotelli also played for Inter (2007–10) as well as AC Milan (2013–14 and 2015/16); he has yet to score in five matches against Lazio (W1 D3 L1).

• Balotelli and Lazio's Lucas played together at Liverpool (2014–15).

• Lazio defender Wallace played in France with Monaco (2014–16).

• Misses next match if booked: Balotelli (Nice).

The coaches
• Former Switzerland midfielder Lucien Favre has been in charge at Nice since May 2016. He made his name as a coach by lifting back-to-back Swiss titles with Zürich, and subsequently enhanced his reputation with spells at Hertha Berlin and Mönchengladbach in Germany.

• Lazio boss since 2016, Simone Inzaghi represented the club as a forward from 1999–2010, and stayed on to coach the youth teams. He is the younger brother of fellow ex-Italian international Filippo Inzaghi, the pair initially playing together at home-town outfit Piacenza.