The vice-champion, Sturm Graz, paid the Italians a great deal of respect ahead of the next huge task in the UEFA Europa League against Lazio Roma.
“Lazio is a big number. They have stars in every part of the team, and it’s a big job for us,” Sturm coach Christian Elzer said ahead of the direction-determining match against the Italian giants on Thursday (6:45 pm GMT). afternoon). Live tape >>>).
“We’ll meet them in our own style,” Elzer declared, referring to high-intensity pressing football. What can make Ilzer confident? In the league, his team conceded no goal for 435 minutes, and on Sunday Graz gained additional self-confidence with a 3-0 victory over Vienna, Austria.
Overall, Sturm has been in a good mood in recent weeks, in the last eight competitive matches there have been six wins and only one defeat for Ilzer. However, this was fierce: a 0:6 in the European League in Feyenoord Rotterdam.
Victory would be a “big success”
In any case, Jörg Seppenhandel was a combative. “Nothing is impossible,” the goalkeeper said. “We went to Rotterdam with the same situation and something went wrong. But we have nothing to lose.”
In the league, they passed the character test against Lustenau (2-0) and Austria, and now Sturm “has to show more than he did in the Bundesliga to win the match at best,” added Seppenhandel.
Ilzer wants to bring the Romans home without points. “Our goal is to spend the winter in Europe,” the coach said.
However, according to Elzer, the Italians have extreme qualities when it comes to possession and “tremendous sharpness” against the ball, so no question should be asked about who is the favorite.
Jantscher fit again
After all, a Storm coach can fully count, “Almost all of my players are fit,” Ilzer said. High-performance Jakob Guncher is also back, and the veteran took part in this week’s entire team practice session.
“He’s a very experienced player,” Elzer said, but also emphasized that ‘of course he hasn’t played for a long time.’ With the fans behind them, the ‘energy kettle’ should be used, he believes his eleven ‘could do a great job’.
With Lazio, the heaviest part of Group F was supposed to be a guest at Graz-Liebenau. Maurizio Sarri’s team is full of eminent names, in the front Ciro Immobile scores goals, behind Sergei Milinkovic-Savic wipes everything.
For the Serbian international, this is a return to Graz: Papa Nikola Milinkovic became the champion of Austria with GAK in 2004, while Sergej played for a few years in the youth team of the GAK.
Both teams are looking for compensation
However, the day of the recent EL match showed that the Romans are not untouched. Sarri’s side faltered 5-1 at FC Midtjelland, and Sturm had beaten the Danes 1-0 at the start.
Sarri admitted that they entered the match against Midgeland with “a certain arrogance”. “We believed in an easy game and we were wrong. At the European level you have to give 100%,” the coach warned. Just like the people of Graz, the Romans are also demanding reparations.
Lazio are currently fourth in Serie A, having achieved consecutive 4-0 wins over Cremonese and Spezia Calcio for the Biancocelesti since losing in Denmark. All four teams in the group have three points.
“We know from Italy that Lazio takes the game very seriously and will not comfort any player,” warned Elzer.
Risk game requires a water cannon
The last meeting between Graz and Lazio took place almost 20 years ago. At that time, the two teams faced each other in the third round of the European Cup, the Romans won the first leg in Graz 3-1, and Storm, the second leg in Italy 1-0.
In addition to the lawn, the police will be wanted around the game of risk. For the first time, two water cannons will be supplied from Vienna in the capital of Styria.
With more than 1,000 fans expected from Italy, Lazio supporters are known to be a tough crowd, with around 150-200 considered “problematic”. Merkur Arena has been sold, and the total number of spectators is expected to reach 14,500.
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