Lazio is a relative newcomer to the Champions League knockout stages, so Bayern arguably got a more favorable draw, especially considering their recent history against La Liga sides in the knockout stages. All things considered, there’s still no easy task in the knockout stages of the Champions League and some of Bayern’s players and staff members echoed that thought when reflecting on the results of the draw (FCBayern.com).
Thomas Muller was able to watch Lazio’s group stage matchups against fellow Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund and he knows how efficient they can be in the attack.
“Lazio were in Dortmund’s group, so I watched the games,” said Muller. “They are an opponent who can be uncomfortable to play offensively, especially with Immobile. We’re looking forward to the next round. Rome is a beautiful city & we had good experiences there against AS Roma.”
Of course, Muller was referencing Bayern’s 7-1 win in Roma in the 2014/2015 Champions League group stages.
Manuel Neuer also warned of Ciro Immobile and Lazio’s attacking prowess, but still feels that Bayern are the favorites to advance to the quarterfinals.
“Lazio are a strong team, but we’re favorites. They have great attackers. We know how dangerous Ciro Immobile is,” Neuer stated. “Lewy is definitely looking forward to this duel and I will prepare well for him as a goalkeeper.”
Neuer also continued by saying, “We have fond memories of the stadium, where we won by a very big score against AS Roma. Miroslav Klose also played at Lazio. So we can look forward to the game. We want to win and advance to the next round.”
Of course, as Neuer alluded to, Miroslav Klose spent five years of his playing career at Lazio, so he’s very familiar with the club. He said that a lot of his friends from Rome have already contacted him about the draw and that they won’t be an easy task for Bayern to get past.
“A lot of guys from Rome have already contacted me” said Klose. “I’m really happy, it was of course my desired opponent. I have a lot of ties with this club and this city. They’re a dangerous team with a 5-3-2 system under Inzaghi, who was my coach for a short time. It won’t be an easy task for us. We will analyze them well and draw our conclusions.”
Hansi Flick struck a diplomatic tone when reacting to drawing Lazio, as expected. He’s never going to look past any opponent or underestimate them.
“We are happy with the draw. It’s not easy to play against Italian teams. It’s of course a special game for Miro, we are happy for him. It’s going to be an exciting tie. We saw the games in the group stage and were able to get a first impression,” Flick said.
The Other Round of 16 Draws:
RB Leipzig - Liverpool
Paris-Saint Germain - Barcelona
Sevilla - Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Monchengladbach - Manchester City
FC Porto - Juventus
Atalanta - Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid - Chelsea