Simone Inzaghi has heaped praise upon Lazio’s Champions League round of 16 opponents ahead of tonight’s first leg.
His Lazio side will have their work cut out as they attempt to overcome Bayern Munich, the reigning champions, and many people’s pick to lift the trophy again this year.
During his pre-match press conference, Inzaghi was quick to discuss the quality of Bayern, but also made it clear that the Biancocelesti are not just there to make up the numbers.
“We know that they are almost unplayable, but even in the past we started as underdogs and then surprised everyone,” Inzaghi said. “We are mature, we have played a lot of finals in addition to the quarter-finals of the Europa League”.
The last time Lazio played a Champions League knockout game was the 1999/2000 season, and Inzaghi was on the pitch that day. That’s why this match holds particular importance for the coach.
“It’s beautiful, it’s the culmination of five years of working together with a wonderful group,” he said. “We’ll try to play it with the right lightheartedness and the usual humility.
“Bayern have just become World Champions, in the last two [gamtes] in the league they have drawn and lost, but previously had five consecutive victories.
“More than Bayern’s weaknesses, I’m working on Lazio’s strengths. ”
The match will see a reunion between Inzaghi and former Lazio striker Miroslav Klose. The German was still at Lazio when Inzaghi first took charge in 2016. He is now an assistant coach at Bayern.
“I am pleased to see him again,” Inzaghi said. “He helped me a lot in the first games as a manager and he immediately made himself available.”