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Can Lazio stun Bayern to knock them out of the Champions League?

Lazio, with no history in the UEFA Champions League, have found themselves in a peculiar situation: they have the opportunity to make it to the quarter-finals of the 2023/24 tournament at the expense of six-time winners, Bayern Munich.

After finishing second in their group, they got drawn against Bayern who won theirs. They stunned the German champions in the first leg of their round of 16 clash to win 1 – 0, while also forcing Dayot Upamecano to be sent off.

They will be traveling to the Allianz Arena in a fortnight to try to make history. Can they?

Lazio against German teams

The records show that Lazio has faced German teams 18 times in their history. Despite what many may think, I Biancocelesti has a decent record against them.

They have racked up seven wins and lost seven games to German teams while drawing four games in between. Compared to how they have fared against English teams and Spanish teams, facing teams from the German league has been a lot easier. Only teams from the French Ligue 1 have given Lazio an easier run in European competitions.

Their total goal tally against German teams is lower, however, with Lazio bagging 25 goals and conceding 28 despite the equally matched statistics.

The Stadio Olimpico outfit’s favourite German opponents are Borussia Dortmund who they have beaten twice and lost once to in four official meetings.

Their good record against German teams continues with their 1 – 0 defeat of Bayern Munich in the first leg of their round of 16 clash in the 2023/24 Champions League.

Lazio against Bayern Munich

Before this two-legged matchup, I Biancocelesti have only met Bayern once in official competitions. That was in the 2020/21 season.

Both teams also met at this stage of the competition in that season, with the Bavarians progressing to the quarter-finals on the back of a 6 – 2 aggregate win from both legs. Lazio’s fans watched as Bayern thrashed their team 4 – 1 at the Stadio Olimpico before traveling to watch them put up a much better fight but lose narrowly by a 2 – 1 scoreline.

The head-to-head stats for both sides now stand at 2 – 1 in favor of Bayern, who will be hosting the second leg of the current iteration of their clash in two weeks.

Unlikely teams that have knocked Bayern Munich out of the UCL

Villarreal is the only team that falls into this category, which shows the pedigree of the German champions in the competition.

The Yellow Submarines, under the guidance of Unai Emery, defeated Bayern in the quarter-finals of the 2021/22 edition of the tournament. The aggregate score across both legs of that match was 2 – 1 thanks to impeccable defending from the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League winners. No other “smaller” or unlikely teams have been able to upset the German champions in this way in the competition before or after that defeat.

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City would have fallen into this category after they triumphed over Bayern in 2020/21 and last season’s quarter-finals. However, the French and English champions have both bought their way into being big teams who are always ranked as favorites for the Champions League.

Lazio will join Villarreal in making history if they can pull this off. They do not need to do much: just ensure that they score one goal and prevent Bayern from scoring more than one goal if they do score in the reverse fixture.

Bayern Munich – Lazio (Aggregate: 0 – 1) prediction

Lazio will be full of belief going into the second leg while Bayern Munich will be full of doubts.

Bayern vs Lazio tickets are selling fast and fans are eager to see how the second leg will turn out.

Both teams are having similar seasons although Lazio is faring much worse than Bayern is. However, a recent run of results which saw Bayern lose to teams that are a tier or two below them in the European power rankings – including Lazio in the first leg of this tie – will make the Bavarians wary of an upset come Tuesday 5 March 2024.

I Biancocelesti will try to attack and will be faced with a wall. However, it will be down to slim margins, just as it was in the first leg.

Bayern remains the odds-on favorite to progress, however, meaning that Lazio will have to make do with their 1 – 0 victory in the first leg. Lazio also presents them with the perfect opportunity to bounce back from their recent struggles and Thomas Tuchel will gladly grab the opportunity with both hands.

Final Score: Bayern Munich 3 – 1 Lazio (Aggregate: 3 – 2).

Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen initially maintained that Bayern will stick with Tuchel for the time being at least.

Asked by Sport1 if Tuchel will be sacked, Dreesen said: “It was clear that this question was coming, it had been looming for some time. I don’t believe in these monstrous statements of support for coaches. I’ve already said something about this, but it’s not a question that arises for us today. We have to concentrate on the next games.”

“I know how you want to hear it. I can say it that way too. But these vows of loyalty are usually over after a week, so I say it in my way. I’ve said before – and I’ll even repeat myself – that’s not an issue we’re currently dealing with.”

When he was asked if Tuchel would still be in charge of the club, Dreesen said: “Of course!”

However, it now appears that Bayern has changed its heart on the decision, after deciding to part ways with Tuchel at the end of the season. It would be interesting to see if this would affect the Bavarians in the Champions League.

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