Lazio vs Borussia Dortmund
Lazio are all set to play in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
But after looking like serious Serie A contenders pre-COVID lockdown, the Italians have not looked the same since returning from last season’s restart.
Lazio will now look to put their slow start to this season behind them as they face fellow Group F favourites Borussia Dortmund.
BVB have been consistent European performers over the past few seasons, and the UEFA Champions League 2020 betting odds favour this year’s youthful side to spoil Lazio’s return to the competition.
Lazio struggling since restart
Few top European teams have seen their form fall as steeply as Lazio’s since the COVID lockdown. Prior to the pandemic, Lazio were second in Serie A and looked ready to push Juventus to the limit. But after play resumed, they lost six of their last 12 matches and only finished fourth.
Simone Inzaghi’s side has now carried over that poor form over to this season. They’re winless in their last three Serie A games after beating Cagliari in their opening match and have suffered heavy defeats to Atalanta (1-4) and most recently Sampdoria (3-0).
Lazio had several starting defenders in Manuel Lazzari, Stefan Radu, and Senad Lulic out due to injury against Sampdoria, and it remains to be seen whether they will be fit enough to play against Dortmund.
Captain Ciro Immobile also missed their most recent match due to suspension. Immobile, who won the European Golden Shoe last season with 36 goals, has had a slow start to the season with just one goal in his first three appearances. But he will be fresh and full of motivation when he goes up against his former club, Borussia Dortmund.
Immobile spent just one underwhelming season with BVB where he scored 10 goals in 34 appearances. But he has been incredible for Lazio — 126 goals in 181 games — and will be eager to show his old side what he can do.
Dortmund young guns ready to go
Borussia Dortmund are once again looking like one of the top teams in Germany. They are up to third in the Bundesliga table with three wins in their first four matches, thanks in large part to their incredibly young and talented attacking core.
Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, both only 20 years old, have had fine starts to the season. Meanwhile, 17-year-old midfielders Gio Reyna and Jude Bellingham have quickly established themselves as starters thanks to some impressive performances.
Haaland had a brilliant debut Champions League campaign last season with 10 goals — eight in six group games for Red Bull Salzburg and two in two games for Dortmund — and will be eager to create more UEFA Champions League 2020 highlights.
Haaland only came on as a substitute in Dortmund’s win over the weekend, but he should return to the starting XI against Lazio. Meanwhile, Reyna — who became the youngest US player ever to assist a goal in the Champions League last season — is likely to keep his place over captain Marco Reus, who is fit again and came on to score the winner against Hoffenheim.
On the other side, though, there are still some concerns about the Dortmund defence. But centre-back Manuel Akanji is ready to return to the back three and will likely replace Lukasz Piszczek, wo went off with an injury against Hoffenheim.
Lazio and Dortmund have met just twice in European competition. BVB won 2-1 on aggregate in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup quarter-finals.
Lazio are 5-1-1 in seven matches at home against German opposition. However, they lost to Eintracht Frankfurt twice in the 2018/19 Europa League group stage and lost 3-1 on aggregate to Bayer Leverkusen in the 2015 Champions League play-off.
Meanwhile, Dortmund have lost 10 of 16 away matches in Italy, including each of the last five against Inter, Atalanta, Juventus, Napoli, and Udinese.
|Lazio vs Borussia Dortmund||1X2 Borussia Dortmund @ 2.14|
|October 21, 03:00 (GMT+8)|
SBOTOP odds have Borussia Dortmund as 2.14 favourites to begin their Champions League campaign with an away win. Lazio are priced at 3.35, while a draw is 3.30.
Given the two sides’ current form, Dortmund look like a much better bet for this match. With Haaland and Sancho, they have two legitimate match-winners who are capable of producing some magic at any moment.
Meanwhile, their supporting cast — with Reyna, Reus, and Raphael Guerreiro — also has the ability to hurt Lazio’s banged up backline. That’s why all in all, Dortmund represent decent value at 2.14 to win away from home in Rome.
|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.
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS
Stay updated with everything sports and betting.