Stuttgart-Lazio Preview: Both sides set sights on quarter-final berth
The Bundesliga outfit have struggled in the league this season and will be up against it when they host a Biancocelesti team among the European places in Serie A
By Jerrad Peters
Sakai, Tasci, Rudiger, Boka
Harnik, Gentner, Holzhauser, Traore
Pereirinha, Biava, Ciani, Radu
Candreva, Gonzalez, Hernanes, Lulic
Stuttgart have won just once in the Bundesliga this calendar year and come into Thursday’s Europa League match against Lazio a disappointing 11th in the division. But the Europa League has been a silver lining for them all season and they will hope to pick up where they left off in the competition when they won 2-0 away to Genk in the last round.
Manager Bruno Labbadia will have to make a change up top, however, as Vedad Ibisevic is suspended, and fellow forward Cacau is still recovering from a cruciate ligament rupture and will not be back until the middle of next month.
Winger Tunay Torun has a hamstring injury and misses out, as does midfielder Johan Audel. Mamadou Bah is out for the rest of the season due to a broken leg and right-back Tim Hoogland is fighting off a bout of flu.
Lazio boss Vladimir Petkovic will have to once again make do without German striker Miroslav Klose, who is still recovering from a serious knee injury, and Antonio Rossi has a hamstring problem.
Right-back Abdoulay Konko is still a month away from his return to the lineup following a knee injury, and midfielder Cristian Brocchi will be unlikely to feature again this season after fracturing a metatarsal.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Stuttgart have won just one of their last nine Bundesliga matches—a streak that goes back to December 2012.
- Only four Bundesliga sides (Nuremberg, Wolfsburg, Augsburg and Greuther Furth) have managed fewer than Stuttgart’s 26 goals in 24 Bundesliga matches so far this season.
- These sides last met in a club friendly in July 2007. The match ended in a 1-1 draw and the goals came from Stefano Mauri and Alexander Farnerud.
- Like Suttgart, Lazio have been struggling domestically of late and have won just two of their last eight matches in Serie A.
- After an entertaining 3-3 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach in the first leg of the Round of 32, Lazio were 2-0 winners in the Italian capital thanks to goals from Antonio Candreva and Alvaro Gonzalez.
- With five goals in the competition, Lazio striker Libor Kozak is second only to Edinson Cavani in Europa League goal-scoring.
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Top 3 Predictions
VfB Stuttgart 1-2 Lazio
- 18.97 %
VfB Stuttgart 0-2 Lazio
- 14.8 %
VfB Stuttgart 1-1 Lazio
- 12.72 %
|Europa League (EL)||14 Mar 2013||Lazio 3 - VfB Stuttgart 1|
|Europa League (EL)||7 Mar 2013||VfB Stuttgart 0 - Lazio 2|
|Club Friendlies (FR)||17 Jul 2007||Lazio 1 - VfB Stuttgart 1|
|18 May 2013||VfB Stuttgart 2 - 1. FSV Mainz 05 2||GER1|
|11 May 2013||FC Schalke 04 1 - VfB Stuttgart 2||GER1|
|4 May 2013||VfB Stuttgart 0 - SpVgg Greuther Fürth 2||GER1|
|27 Apr 2013||FC Augsburg 3 - VfB Stuttgart 0||GER1|
|21 Apr 2013||VfB Stuttgart 2 - SC Freiburg 1||GER1|
|4||William Kvist Jörgensen||Midfielder|
|-||Alexandru Iulian Maxim||Midfielder|
|3||Felipe Aliste Lopes||Defender|
The Austrian winger has scored 17 goals in each of the two full seasons he has played at Stuttgart since moving from Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2010 and looks set to approach that number once again this season. With Ibisevic suspended and Cacau injured he’ll be relied on to produce meaningful chances from his position along the right-hand side.
He is Lazio’s highest healthy goalscorer and on Tuesday was recalled into Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Brazil squad for upcoming matches against Italy and Russia. In just his third year in Italian football he has quickly become one of the top midfielders on the peninsula and will drive his side forward in Stuttgart on Thursday.
Both sides are coming off weekend losses, but Lazio’s form book is slightly better than Stuttgart’s. The guests will find the back of the net here, and Stuttgart will likely struggle against one of the stingier defenses in Italy. A score draw is on the cards.