29.07.2017Bayer 04

Our next opponents: Lazio

Before the Bayer 04 group returns to the Rhineland, to round off preparations for the new season in Leverkusen, there is a final friendly at the training camp in Salzburger Land when the Werkself take on Lazio in Grödig at 15.30 CET. The game will be broadcast live on

The last meeting of the two teams is well remembered by everybody at Bayer 04. In the qualifying rounds for the Champions League in August 2015, the Werkself won 3-0 at the BayArena with goals from Hakan Calhanoglu, Admir Mehmedi and Karim Bellarabi. A 1-0 defeat in the second leg saw Bayer 04 progress to the group stage. An eminently important victory against a strong opponent who finished last season in third place in the Serie A just one point behind rivals AS Roma and ahead of clubs like Fiorentina, Napoli plus Inter and AC Milan – the best league finish since the second title win in the club's history in 2000.

At the turn-of-the-century, Lazio were a top European team with stars like Alessandro Nesta, Pavel Nedved and Juan Sebastián Verón under Sven-Göran Eriksson who went on to be the England manager. In 1999 they were the last team to win the European Cup Winners Cup. In the championship winning season came the first two matches between the 'Biancoceleste' and Bayer 04. The two clubs met in the group stage of the Champions League with the ties producing two 1-1 draws – the only two points dropped in the group stage by Lazio who went through to the quarter-finals.

Lazio in the Europa League

The team from the Italian capital are on the European stage again this season. Last season's fifth-place finish under coach Simone Inzaghi, younger brother of the Italian legend striker Filippo Inzaghi, are in the Europa League in 2017/18. Stars of the team include the sought after striker Keita Baldé, defender Stefan de Vrij and the two Brazilian midfielders Felipe Anderson and Lucas Leiva. The latter joined the club last week after ten years at Liverpool.

Fans of the Bundesliga will also be familiar with Ciro Immobile. The central striker, who played for Borussia Dortmund in 2014/2015, joined Lazio last summer to take over the arduous mantle from Miroslav Klose, who scored 63 goals for the Roman side between 2011 and 2016. Before the record goalscorer for Germany, who became a crowd favourite in the Eternal City, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Karl-Heinz Riedle and Thomas Doll all wore the shirt with the Lazio eagle on the chest.

Season launch with match against Celta Vigo

The Werkself head home directly after the final whistle in Grödig. The next and last friendly in the pre-season is against Spanish top-flight side Celta Vigo at the season launch at the BayArena on 5 August.

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