Kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Lazio coach Delio Rossi has paid tribute to visitors Real Madrid before their Group C encounter – but promises that his side will not be overawed tonight.
“It is the dream of any young boy to play against Real Madrid,” said Rossi. “But for those who have to work in football, it’s just another game. I won’t be having nightmares about Madrid or dreaming about white shirts.”
As well as the 1-1 stalemate in Greece against Olympiacos on Matchday 1, Lazio have drawn four of their opening six Serie A matches and lie 12th in the table with seven points. Nonetheless, another draw “would suit” Rossi.
“We can win if we play with the desire and commitment that Lazio are famous for, but it will be very tough,” he continued.
“We have to forget about their history and their players and go at them without fear. There are three points at stake and it looks as though we’ll be playing in front of a full house, so I hope all the emotion and drama of the night will be channelled in the right way – and work in our favour.”
Italian international striker Tommaso Rocchi will undergo a late fitness test with Stephen Makinwa on stand-by should he fail to recover.
Bernd Schuster’s men are leading both the Primera División – with five victories from six matches – as well as Group C after their 2-1 victory at home against Werder Bremen on Matchday 1.
“We don’t have to change too much for this game,” admitted Schuster. “Lazio play a similar system to Bremen. We just have to play our own game. I think the wings will be important.”
Defenders Christoph Metzelder and Pepe, plus striker Robinho, are out injured tonight.
Despite their impressive start to the season, Schuster coach has been criticised for his rotation policy.
“Like all teams, we have a base of players who perform in most games but we must also make sure our players are in top condition for the top matches,” he said. “Sometimes we have to make changes and that’s why we have a big squad. This will happen here.”
“We have to think about other competitions such as the Spanish league and cup, but of course, this is the most important tournament and has priority. But we are not like Italian teams who look exclusively at the Champions League.”