After a two week rest due to the tragic death of Morosini and the postponement of last week’s round it is now time to get back to the race for third spot. Lazio welcome Lecce, a team that has struggled all season but managed to get back to winning ways in recent matches, making the southerners believe in another year in Serie A.
Lazio are third from the top, while Lecce are third from the bottom and 20 points separate the two teams. Looking at the current form however, Lecce look like the superior team with nine points out of the last five matches. Lazio, on the other hand, have lost three consecutive away games, securing the six points collected from the two home games in the last five fixtures.
In the Lazio camp plenty has happened since the last round. Prandelli came to visit the training ground, boosting the Italian players hoping to book at ticket for the Euro 2012. Brocchi caught yet another injury, forcing him out of the rest of the season, Lulic was ruled out of training for the coming 15 days, Klose continues to fight for making it back before the end of the season and as always Radu and Konko are in doubt ahead of every game.
Reja will use the preferred 4-2-3-1 formation it seems, and with Mauri out suspended it is the time for Hernanes’ return to the starting lineup. Garrido, who in recent interviews has stated his satisfaction of getting more playing time and is hoping he can be influential in the run for third, and Scaloni will occupy the flanks at the back, Dias will make his way back, forcing Diakite to the bench again, and Candreva will again get to start to the left. Up top Rocchi is the only option, with Kozak suspended and Alfaro having picked up a slight knock in the Thursday training session. Cana will be back on the bench, with Matuzalem returning to aid Ledemsa is the central department.
Lecce are fighting for survival, a reason that together with coach Cosmi motivates the players to show heart and dedication in every game recently. The team seems to have bonded together well and they have managed to beat Catania on the road and Roma at home, in their two most recent games. The tradition against Lazio at Stadio Olimpico is not very encouraging for the Via del Mare outfit: only one win against the Romans in 13 attempts, nine of them having been lost. However, last year the very same fixture ended in a 2-1 shock win for Lecce, with Muslera scoring an own goal and Grossmuller making the difference after a Mauri equaliser.
Lazio: Marchetti, Scaloni, Biava, Dias, Garrido, Ledesma, Matuzalem, Gonzalez, Hernanes, Candreva, Rocchi.
Lecce: Benassi, Oddo, Miglionico, Tomovic, Cuadrado, Bertolacci, Giocomazzi, Delvecchio, Brivio, Muriel, Di Michele.