Thursday, January 19, 2017

Schmidt unfazed by Lazio injuries

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 26 Aug 2015

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Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt played down the significance of Lazio’s absentees for Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League play-off second leg.

Miroslav Klose (thigh) and Lucas Biglia (calf) are both set to miss the Serie A club’s trip to the BayArena, where Lazio visit holding a 1-0 lead.

But Schmidt was unwilling to accept that his team were in some way favoured by the injuries and pointed to a league clash last season.

Lazio claimed a 4-2 win at Napoli without Biglia and having only had Klose come off the bench late on.

“I don’t know whether it’s an advantage,” Schmidt said.

“Lazio played their last game last season against Napoli, in a very important match, also without both players and won 4-2. I think Lazio has such a good squad to compensate for that.

“Of course Biglia is a very important player for this team in certain situations, but I think, just as we’re missing some players, Lazio will also be able to compensate that.

“I think that won’t be decisive for the game tomorrow.”

Despite being without two key men and carrying a lead to Germany, Lazio coach Stefano Pioli said his team would attack.

“It’s right to say we will try to attack whenever the chance arises,” he said.

“We have to win the ball back as soon as possible, keeping Bayer away from our box because they are physical, skillful and talented in set-pieces.

“We have to be proactive in order to cause them problems as we have so much quality in our forwards. Fast players who are good in the one-on-one.

“Let’s exploit our skills and again, play with the spirit and focus that let us get here. That is, play to win.”

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