Lazio vs Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich will not be heading to their Champions League last-16 first leg against Lazio in the best of form. The reigning European champions have had back-to-back disappointing performances in the Bundesliga as they continue to deal with several key absentees to their squad.
Bayern will now make the tricky trip to Rome to face Lazio, who have been in fantastic form since the start of the year.
The Champions League 2021 betting odds are still heavily against Lazio in this tie, but the Italians should still fancy their chances against the struggling champions in their home leg.
Lazio looking good in the league
After suffering a tough 3-1 defeat to Inter, Lazio quickly got back to winning ways with a narrow 1-0 victory over Sampdoria this past weekend. Luis Alberto scored the decisive goal for the Biancocelesti, his seventh goal of the season.
Lazio have now won seven of their last eight matches in the league and are now up to fourth in the table.
Lazio have been getting by despite captain Ciro Immobile suddenly struggling to find the back of the net. The Lazio top scorer, who has 14 league goals this season, has just one goal in his last five matches.
Although, he was prolific in the Champions League group stage with five goals in four appearances. That includes both meetings against his former German club, Borussia Dortmund.
Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi fielded his strongest possible XI against Sampdoria. Regular starters Wesley Hoedt and Manuel Lazzari both missed out due to suspension, but they will be in the running to return to the side.
Lazio have been in sensational form at home of late. They’ve won their last six league matches at the Stadio Olimpico, while conceding only two goals. They also went undefeated at home during the Champions League group stage, with two wins and a draw.
Champions Bayern struggling and shorthanded
Bayern Munich are in a bad run of form at the moment. Since returning from their Club World Cup triumph in Qatar, they have dropped points in back-to-back Bundesliga matches: a 3-3 draw against Arminia Bielefeld and a 2-1 loss away to in-form Eintracht Frankfurt.
Granted, Bayern have been dealing with several key absentees of late. Thomas Muller has now missed the last three games due to Covid, while Benjamin Pavard is the latest to test positive.
Eric Choupo-Moting has had to start the last two games with Muller out, while centre-back Niklas Sule had to fill in for Pavard at right-back against Frankfurt, which goes to show how stretched the Bayern squad is at the moment.
Wingers Serge Gnabry and Douglas Costa are still dealing with injuries and are questionable to feature in the first leg, while midfielder Corentin Tolisso will be out for three months after undergoing surgery on his injured thigh.
But there’s still some good Champions League 2021 news for the German giants. Javi Martinez and Leon Goretza are both back after their recent bouts with Covid, and Muller appears on track to make his return in Rome.
Moreover, they still have the best striker in Europe in Robert Lewandowski banging in the goals. The Polish superstar picked up yet another goal against Frankfurt, taking his league-leading tally to 26 in the league. And he has scored a further three goals in four Champions League appearances this season.
This will be the first-ever meeting between Bayern and Lazio in UEFA competition.
Lazio have a terrific home record in Europe against German opposition. They have won six of eight matches at the Olimpico, with one draw and one defeat.
Meanwhile, Bayern have had their problems in Italy. They have lost nine of 20 trips, with seven wins and four draws.
|Lazio vs Bayern Munich||1X2 Draw @ 4.10|
|February 24, 04:00 (GMT+8)|
SBOTOP odds have Bayern installed as big 1.62 favourites away from home, with Lazio priced at 4.80 to pull off a shock first-leg win. Meanwhile, a draw is at 4.10.
With Bayern’s recent struggles coupled with the uncertainties in their squad, they are not exactly a sure bet to pick up a victory in Rome. Lazio are playing quite well of late – particularly at home – and Immobile is always capable of popping up with a key goal.
That’s why I anticipate a more closely contested match than many had anticipated when the draw was first made. Lazio have enough strength and organisation to make things tough on Bayern and hold the champions to a first-leg draw.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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