With four points from two games, Celtic welcome Lazio to Glasgow hoping to protect their position as leaders of Group E.
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Celtic welcome Lazio to Glasgow hoping to protect their position as leaders of UEFA Europa League Group E, both clubs having registered home wins on Matchday 2.
• The Scottish champions have four points from their first two games, a 2-0 home win against CFR Cluj following a 1-1 draw away to Rennes. Lazio are a point in arrears of their hosts, though they made up for a shock opening 2-1 defeat in Romania by coming from behind to beat Rennes by the same score in Rome with second-half goals from Sergej Milinković-Savić and Ciro Immobile.
• Lazio have never faced Scottish opponents in UEFA competition.
• Celtic have won just five of their 25 previous UEFA fixtures against Italian clubs, though at home their record is W4 D5 L3. They famously beat a Serie A side, Internazionale, to win the 1966/67 European Cup final, triumphing 2-1 in Lisbon.
• Inter were the Bhoys' first Italian opponents in Europe and also their most recent, the Nerazzurri eliminating them from the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 32 thanks to a 3-3 draw in Glasgow and a 1-0 victory in Milan. Celtic are without a win in four home fixtures against Italian visitors (D2 L2), conceding three goals in each of the last three contests.
• Celtic won the domestic treble of Premiership, Scottish Cup and League Cup for an unprecedented third successive season in 2018/19 but in Europe they missed out on the UEFA Champions League group stage and lost five matches in the UEFA Europa League, including both round of 16 encounters against Valencia (0-2 h, 0-1 a).
• This term Celtic again failed to negotiate the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, losing to CFR (1-1 a, 3-4 h), but a comprehensive play-off win against Swedish champions AIK (2-0 h, 4-1 a) enabled them to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage for the sixth time. Two of their previous five participations at this juncture have been successful, including last season, but they have yet to progress beyond the round of 32.
• Thanks to that Matchday 2 victory against CFR, the Glasgow giants have now won more home matches than they have lost in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final (W8 D4 L7). They have won four of their five European home games this season.
• Lazio defeated Atalanta 2-0 in last season's Coppa Italia final to lift the trophy for the seventh time and gain direct access to the UEFA Europa League group stage – a competition they exited in the round of 32 last season after losing home (0-1) and away (0-2) to Sevilla.
• Their last six UEFA Europa League group stage participations have all been successful – after failure in the first – and they have topped their section on three occasions. Their best performances came in 2012/13 and 2017/18, when they reached the quarter-finals.
• Runners-up to Inter in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup, Lazio went 11 away games unbeaten in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, from October 2013 until a 2-3 defeat at Zulte Waregem in December 2017, equalling Fiorentina's competition record. However, they have now lost seven of their last nine (W2), including four of their last five in the group stage.
Links and trivia
• Celtic's Olivier Ntcham played with Genoa between 2015 and 2017 and was a team-mate – and fellow loanee – of Lazio's Danilo Cataldi at the club in 2016/17.
• Celtic's Boli Bolingoli and Lazio's Jordan Lukaku are cousins.
• Lazio are appearing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the eighth time, matching Salzburg's competition record.
• This will be Celtic boss Neil Lennon's 50th European match as a manager.
• Having just left Hibernian, former Northern Ireland international Lennon returned for a second spell as Celtic manager in February 2019 following Brendan Rodgers' mid-season move to Leicester City, and duly sealed the club's 'treble treble' of domestic trophies. He had previously served the Glasgow club as player (2000–07) and manager (2010–14), capturing 16 trophies during those spells, though it was at Leicester, where he won two League Cups under his compatriot Martin O'Neill, that he first made his mark as an industrious and effective midfield anchorman.
• 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 head coach was the 2017 Italian Super Cup, his second the Coppa Italia two years later.
The FootballPeople weeks take place from 10 to 24 October 2019 and are organised by UEFA's social responsibility partner Fare. The weeks are a global campaign aimed at tackling discrimination and celebrating diversity in football. The UEFA Europa League is offering its full support to the FootballPeople weeks; teams will line up for a mixed photo with the referees, while an #EqualGame hashtag will also be on display. Videos will be played on giant screens at stadiums across Europe, and child mascots will be wearing #FootballPeople t-shirts. UEFA's collaboration with the Fare network's FootballPeople weeks has been running since 2001. The aim of this initiative fits in perfectly with the goals of #EqualGame, which is looking to promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility.