Lazio have become round of 32 regulars but face a stern test as they take on three-time UEFA Europa League winners Sevilla.
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Two of the UEFA Europa League's most assiduous performers are back in the knockout phase as Lazio, playing their 63rd match in the competition proper, host three-time winners Sevilla at the Stadio Olimpico.
• Lazio reached the round of 32 for the sixth time in eight seasons as runners-up in Group H, finishing with nine points, half as many as section winners Eintracht Frankfurt. The Italian club did, however, qualify two matchdays in advance of Sevilla, who lost at Krasnodar and Standard Liège but defeated the Russian side 3-0 at home in their final game to finish above them at the top of Group J on the head-to-head rule.
• Despite both clubs' wealth of European experience, their paths have never crossed in UEFA competition.
• Lazio have won just five of their 18 matches against Spanish clubs and three of nine in Rome, losing home (1-3) and away (0-1) in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 32 against eventual winners Atlético Madrid, their most recent fixtures against Liga opposition. They did win the last ever UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final against Spain's Mallorca, prevailing 2-1 at Birmingham's Villa Park 20 years ago.
• Sevilla's record against Italian opposition is W3 D2 L5. Their sole victory – and only goals – on Italian soil came at Fiorentina in the second leg of the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League semi-final (2-0, Daniel Carriço scoring the second goal) after a 3-0 win in Spain. That is their only previous trip to Italy in this competition.
• Edged into fifth place in last season's Serie A by Internazionale on the final day, Lazio are participating in the UEFA Europa League for the seventh time, their best performances having been when they reached the quarter-finals in 2012/13 and 2017/18.
• The Rome side have played more games in the competition than any other Italian club, with only Villarreal (68 matches) and Salzburg (66) having been more active. Including this season, their last six UEFA Europa League group stage participations have all been successful after failure in the first.
• Lazio have won three of their five UEFA Europa League round of 32 ties. The defeat by Atlético in 2011/12 preceded a victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2012/13 (3-3 away, 2-0 home), but the following season brought another elimination, by Bulgaria's Ludogorets (0-1 home, 3-3 away), before successes in 2015/16 against Galatasaray (1-1 away, 3-1 home) and last term against FCSB (0-1 away, 5-1 home).
• Their round of 32 record at the Stadio Olimpico is W3 L2, the three wins all coming in the second leg (and securing qualification) and the two defeats both occurring in the first leg en route to elimination.
• Runners-up to Inter in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup, Lazio have won 11 of their last 15 continental fixtures in Rome (D2 L2). In the UEFA Europa League knockout phase overall their home record is W5 D2 L3.
• Although they were UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists last term, seventh place in Spain's Liga meant that Sevilla's first match back in the UEFA Europa League since their 2016 final success against Liverpool was in the second qualifying round. They went on to win six of out six in qualifying, beating Hungary's Újpest, Žalgiris Vilnius and Sigma Olomouc home and away.
• Sevilla topped Group J with 12 points, scoring 18 goals – the most of any of the 48 clubs in the group stage, with 14 coming at home. Their 5-1 matchday one win against Standard was the first time they had scored more than four goals at home in a European match; they then beat Akhisar 6-0 on matchday three.
• This is Sevilla's fifth appearance in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. They lost the first of their four round of 32 ties, on away goals to Porto in 2010/11 (1-2 home, 1-0 away), but came through the next three en route to winning the competition three times in a row from 2013/14 to 2015/16 – against, respectively, Estoril (2-1 away, 1-1 home), Borussia Mönchengladbach (1-0 home, 3-2 away) and Molde (3-0 home, 0-1 away). That last defeat in Norway ended their perfect away record at this stage.
• Sevilla have won ten of their 12 European games this season, racking up 35 goals and conceding seven. However, apart from a 3-2 win at Akhisar on matchday four, their only other victory in their last seven fixtures outside Spain in the UEFA Europa League proper was the 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in the 2016 final.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Patric, Rômulo
Out: Dušan Basta, Martín Cáceres, Alessandro Murgia, Edoardo Rezzi, Alessandro Rossi
In: Maximilian Wöber, Munir El Haddadi, Marko Rog, Bryan Gil
Out: Luis Muriel, Lucho, Nolito, Borja Lasso
Links and trivia
• Lazio's attacking midfielder Luis Alberto, an Andalusian native, was brought through Sevilla's youth system and played seven Liga games for the first team between 2010 and 2012.
• Joaquín Correa (2016–18) and Ciro Immobile (2015) have also represented Sevilla, while Riza Durmisi played for city rivals Betis between 2016 and 2018, scoring in a 2-1 derby defeat in February 2017.
• Simon Kjær played for Roma in 2011/12, and was red-carded in his only Eternal City derby. Maxime Gonalons is on loan to Sevilla from the Giallorossi.
• Franco Vázquez was with Palermo from 2012–16 before joining Sevilla, whereas Éver Banega split his two spells in Seville with a 2016/17 season at Internazionale, scoring against Lazio in a 3-0 home win in December 2016. André Silva is on loan to Sevilla from AC Milan.
• Correa is an Argentina team-mate of Banega and Gabriel Mercado, while Durmisi and Kjær are Danish internationals.
• Felipe Caicedo and Daniel Carriço played together briefly at Sporting CP in 2009/10.
• Sevilla's three January newcomers all played in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage – Maximilian Wöber for Ajax, Munir El Haddadi for Barcelona and Marko Rog for Napoli.
• Daniel Carriço appeared in five of Sevilla's group games and has now stretched his all-time appearance record in the UEFA Europa League proper to 59 matches, six more than any other player.
• Sevilla are one of only two clubs still involved to have won the UEFA Europa League, alongside 2012/13 winners Chelsea. There are eight others, however, who have lifted the trophy in its previous guise as the UEFA Cup.
• Lazio boss since April 2016, when he replaced Stefano Pioli, Simone Inzaghi represented the club as a forward between 1999 and 2010, winning the Italian double in his debut season and the Coppa Italia twice more in later years. The younger brother of fellow ex-Italian international Filippo Inzaghi, with whom he played at home-town outfit Piacenza, he began coaching Lazio's youth teams immediately after hanging up his boots. His first trophy as coach was the 2017 Italian Super Cup.
• Pablo Machín was appointed by Sevilla as their new head coach on a two-year contract in May 2018 – a reward for four progressive campaigns at the helm of Catalan outfit Girona, whom he guided into the Spanish top flight before exceeding expectations by leading them to a tenth-placed Liga finish in 2017/18. Forced to retire from playing at 23, he had a lengthy association with home-town club Numancia before joining Girona in 2014. This is his first season on the European stage.