Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
As he prepared to face Werder Bremen in Rome, Lazio coach Delio Rossi acknowledged that the effort of playing twice a week is beginning to take its toll on his players.
“It’s definitely not a good time and the defeats are not helping morale,” said Rossi, who has seen his side lose four matches in a row. “Playing every three days is tough. I have no fresh players but that’s not the problem. If I don’t have the time to work in training on our defensive errors, it becomes difficult to sort them out.”
Lazio, who finished third in Serie A last season, have won only two of their eleven league matches this season, leaving them in 15th position, one point above the relegation zone. Injuries to key players – defender Sebastiano Siviglia and playmaker Stefano Mauri have compouned their woes, while Goran Pandev, who scored twice in Lazio’s 2-2 home draw with Real Madrid, is also a doubt.
“It’s like being in a marriage,” said the coach. “You shouldn’t blame each other. It would be easy to get on the back of players when things aren’t going well but I don’t think it’s right to find culprits, to make goodies or baddies.
“We can’t cry over errors as I don’t believe in being lucky or unlucky. We have our pride and our duty. The players may be tired or injured, but I haven’t seen anyone that doesn’t want to wear the shirt.”
Despite Lazio’s poor run of results, Thomas Schaaf, whose Bremen side are unbeaten in seven Bundesliga games, has urged his players to be wary of Lazio.
“Sometimes the Champions League can be a good escape from your troubles in the league,” he said. “They have been playing well but have been unfortunate.”
“Our squad have grown strong together,” added Schaaf, who has midfielder Torsten Frings and striker Boubacar Sanogo missing while midfielders Daniel Jensen and Carlos Alberto are both on the road to recovery. “We have been playing well lately and although both teams have good players, I’d say we’re more attacking than Lazio and I’m confident of picking up the points.”