After their disappointment in failing to qualify for the Champions League, Jan Urban’s Legia Warszawa side kick-off their 2013/14 Europa League campaign with a tough trip to Rome’s Stadio Olimpico to face Lazio. EKSTRAKLASAreview has enlisted the help of Ben Lally, Lazio supporter and serial tweeter to guide Legia fans through what they can expect from the Group opener.
Hi Ben. How did Lazio qualify for the Europa League?
Lazio qualified for this years Europa League by beating city rivals AS Roma in the Final of the Coppa Italia, having narrowly missed out on league qualification by one point.
What are their strengths?
Lazio have many threats going forward. Wide players such as Antonio Candreva and Senad Lulic will pose problems for teams, while the evident threat of Hernanes and Miroslav Klose are dangerous in front of goal.
Do they have any weaknesses which Legia should try to exploit?
Defensively Lazio have been lacking for a number of seasons now. Even without the injuries to Stefan Radu, and Giuseppe Biava (who are injured) , Lazio are still shaky at the back and if put under pressure, are liable to make mistakes. When teams hit Lazio fast on the break, this has proven to be a weakness yet to be rectified.
Who is Lazio’s key player to watch out for?
Antonio Candreva. The wide-man has been causing problems for many teams in Serie A during the last few seasons but from what i have seen of him so far this season, this could be his best year yet. An Italian International, his creativity will be instrumental in Lazio’s quest to maintain a good run in three competitions again this term.
What are the expectations for Lazio’s Europa League campaign?
After reaching the quarter-finals last year, there is no reason why Lazio cannot go further this time round. Although the fans were expecting more of the latest transfer window, depth has been added to try and maintain a good run in all competitions this term. Semi-Finals and beyond will be a realistic aim for Vladmir Petkovic and his men.
What will Lazio fans expect as a minimum from the Legia game?
A win. With the Derby della Capitale coming up on Sunday, the key factor for Lazio will be keeping men injury free for that. A win will be vital as the coach will want to secure passage to the last 32 as soon as possible. Whether Sundays match against AS Roma will play on the players minds is yet to be seen, but Petkovic will take this match seriously and field his strongest team available.
Ben regularly tweets his views and the latest news about Lazio. You can follow him over at @Lazio_UK.