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Lazio next up as Gladbach target third title

Back mixing it in the business end of the European season, VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach host S.S. Lazio, with the German side hoping to puncture the joint-best defence in the competition.

Mönchengladbach have a rich history in this competition, having lifted the trophy twice during the 1970s
Mönchengladbach have a rich history in this competition, having lifted the trophy twice during the 1970s ©AFP/Getty Images

VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach will look to extend a long unbeaten run against Italian sides as they take on S.S. Lazio in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.

• Gladbach's record in ten games against Italian sides is W4 D4 L2 (W2 D3 L0 at home – W2 D1 L2 in Italy), though the most recent of those ties was the second round of the 1978/79 UEFA Cup. They are nonetheless unbeaten in seven games against Serie A opposition, stretching back nearly 39 years to a 2-0 European Cup Winners' Cup loss at AC Milan on 10 April 1974.

• Lazio's six games against German sides have ended W2 D2 L2 (W2 D1 L0 in Rome – W0 D1 L2 in Germany). Most recently, they traded 2-1 home wins with SV Werder Bremen in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Match background
• Mönchengladbach have scored at least two goals in their last five European games: three wins, a 2-2 draw and a 4-2 home defeat.

• Lazio are unbeaten in eight European games this season (W5 D3). Of the sides in the round of 32, Lazio and Bayer 04 Leverkusen have the best defensive records, with just two goals conceded since the start of the group stage.

• Mönchengladbach are in the last 32 after finishing second in Group C. They won the 1974/75 and 1978/79 UEFA Cups and were beaten finalists in the 1972/73 and 1979/80 editions – as well as in the 1976/77 European Champion Clubs' Cup final.

• They could become the fourth side to win this competition for a third time, along with Juventus, FC Internazionale Milano and Liverpool FC.

• Prior to this season, Gladbach had not played in Europe since going out to AS Monaco FC in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup second round.

• Group J winners Lazio have reached the round of 32 only once since bowing out to FC Porto in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup semi-finals, losing out to eventual winners Club Atlético de Madrid at this stage last season.

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

Team facts
• Gladbach's next goal will be their 300th in UEFA club competition – this is their 136th UEFA game.

• Lazio boast German talent in the form of striker Miroslav Klose, who joined the club from FC Bayern München in 2011.

• As a midfielder, Mönchengladbach coach Lucien Favre won the 1984/85 Swiss title with Servette FC and 24 caps for Switzerland. He won further Swiss Cups as a coach with Servette and FC Zürich, as well as two titles with the latter. He has specialised in creating competitive sides in Germany on modest budgets, finishing fourth in the Bundesliga with Hertha BSC Berlin in 2008/09 and Mönchengladbach in 2011/12.

• 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 modest level and coached AC Bellinzona, BSC Young Boys and FC Sion, as well as moving to Turkey to take charge of Samsunspor.

Round of 16: VfB Stuttgart/KRC Genk v Mönchengladbach/Lazio
• The first legs will be played on 7 March, with the returns the following Thursday.

• Mönchengladbach could meet Stuttgart in an all-German round of 16 tie. They have actually met in Europe before, with Gladbach edging out their Bundesliga rivals 3-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals of the 1979/80 UEFA Cup. Jupp Heynckes' side were then beaten by another German team – Eintracht Frankfurt – in the two-legged final.