VfB Stuttgart will look to end a four-game wait for a UEFA Europa League home win, while S.S. Lazio are seeking a first victory in Germany in their round of 16 opener.
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VfB Stuttgart will look to overcome their shyness at home in the UEFA Europa League as they take on S.S. Lazio, who feature a famous German striker in the shape of Miroslav Klose.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition. Stuttgart's record in nine games against Italian sides is W2 D3 L4 (W2 D1 L1 at home). 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 four 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.
• Lazio's record in eight games against German clubs is W3 D3 L2 (W0 D2 L2 in Germany). They have yet to win in Germany or lose to Bundesliga opponents in Rome.
• Lazio did eliminate 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 not won a UEFA Europa League home game (D3 L1) since the play-offs, but have won three of their four games on the road. They have scored three goals at the VfB Arena in that period and nine away.
• Prior to their round of 32 success against KRC Genk, Stuttgart had not won a two-legged springtime European tie in eight attempts since losing the 1997/98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final.
• 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.
• Lazio are unbeaten in ten European games this season (W6 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.
• Lazio boast German talent in the form of 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 briefly played in Serie A on loan at UC Sampdoria in 2010/11: that spell 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 eight games since the start of the group stage – 720 minutes in total.
• Stuttgart defender Thomas Geyer celebrates his 22nd birthday on the eve of this tie.
• 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, where they lost 3-0 to Serie A rivals Inter in Paris.
• 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.
• 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.