September 19, (THEWILL) – The UEFA Champions League group stage commences this week, with Lazio facing a stern test against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night, as they return to Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since the 2020/2021 campaign.
The Italian side secured their UCL spot by finishing runners-up to Napoli in Serie A last term. However, Lazio have struggled for form in the new campaign, taking just three points from their opening four league matches. Manager Maurizio Sarri will hope to galvanise his squad for the challenges ahead.
Atletico Madrid travel to Rome, seeking redemption after finishing last and crashing out in the group stage last season. Under the stewardship of Diego Simeone, the Spanish giants are targeting a fourth Champions League final appearance this time. However, they head into this fixture on the back of an unexpected 3-0 defeat at Valencia last weekend.
Injuries could impact Atletico’s preparations, with Thomas Lemar sidelined by an Achilles injury. Key midfielders Koke and Rodrigo De Paul are also ruled out. Lazio, meanwhile, have no new injury concerns, with Sarri potentially rotating his line-up.
The match pits Sarri’s domestic runners-up against Simeone’s seasoned European campaigners. With kick-off at 8pm local time, Lazio face a true test of their Champions League credentials at the Stadio Olimpico.