After a dismal 3-0 defeat to Bundesliga title rivals Bayer Leverkusen, can Bayern Munich respond in Europe? We look ahead to Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League action with our data-powered Lazio vs Bayern Munich prediction and preview.
Lazio vs Bayern Munich: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer is siding with Bayern Munich ahead of the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie with Lazio, giving the German giants a 56.7% chance of victory in Rome.
- Bayern have progressed from 11 of their last 12 Champions League round-of-16 ties, with the exception coming against eventual champions Liverpool in 2018-19.
- No player has more goal involvements in this season’s competition than Bayern star Harry Kane (seven – four goals, three assists). Only in 2017-18 (nine) has the former Tottenham striker recorded more in a single edition of the Champions League.
Bayern Munich are not a club accustomed to a lack of success, and with their 11-year stranglehold on the Bundesliga title now in grave peril, manager Thomas Tuchel is under severe pressure. Should Bayern fall short on the domestic front, winning the UEFA Champions League may be the only way for Tuchel to keep hold of his job. Can his under-fire side navigate a way through their last-16 tie against Lazio?
Bayern were well beaten 3-0 by title rivals Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday as Xabi Alonso’s men proved beyond all doubt that they are the real deal. The sight of Bayern loanee Josip Stanisic scoring against his parent club will have rankled the visitors, even before second-half goals from Álex Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong made it comfortable.
The Opta supercomputer now rates Bayern’s hopes of a 12th straight Bundesliga crown at just 26.5%, compared to Leverkusen’s 73.4%. Tuchel now cannot afford to oversee an early European exit, but there are few teams more well-versed in navigating the Champions League’s knockout rounds than Bayern.
Indeed, Bayern have progressed from 11 of their last 12 Champions League last-16 ties, with the exception coming against eventual champions Liverpool in 2018-19. Bayern have also avoided defeat in the first leg of 11 straight round-of-16 ties, with seven wins and four draws.
For all their struggles on the domestic front, Bayern breezed through the Champions League group stage, recording five wins and one draw to beat FC Copenhagen, Galatasaray and Manchester United to top spot in Group A.
The form of Harry Kane was a major factor in their success, with the England captain recording more goal involvements than any other player in the Champions League’s group stage this season (seven – four goals, three assists). Only in 2017-18 (nine) has the former Tottenham striker contributed to more goals in a single campaign in the competition.
While Kane is Bayern’s undisputed talisman, Tuchel can also call upon an exiting backup option in Mathys Tel, with the 18-year-old being directly involved in three goals as a substitute in the group stage, scoring twice and assisting once in just 54 minutes. Since records began in 2003-04, no Bayern player has managed more goal involvements as a substitute in a single Champions League campaign.
Tel could have a role to play in Wednesday’s first leg against Lazio, with injuries sidelining fellow attackers Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry.
Bayern responded to their injury absences by bringing the arrival of Spanish winger Bryan Zaragoza forward to January, though he was unavailable through illness against Leverkusen. Fellow new arrivals Eric Dier and Sacha Boey failed to impress in that game and face a battle to remain in the starting lineup.
Lazio have also underwhelmed domestically this term, sitting eighth in Serie A and five points adrift of the top four. However, Maurizio Sarri’s men appear to have turned a corner by winning five of their last seven league games, triumphing 3-1 at Cagliari on Saturday, and they will view this tie as something of a free hit.
The Biancocelesti are making just their third appearance in the Champions League knockout stage, having lost both of their previous such ties. They were eliminated by Valencia in the quarter-finals of the 1999-00 tournament, before succumbing to Bayern at this stage three years ago.
Their hopes of springing a surprise may rest upon the shoulders of captain Ciro Immobile, who scored three of Lazio’s seven goals as they finished as runners-up to Atlético Madrid in Group E. Overall, Immobile has eight goals in 11 Champions League appearances for Lazio, with only Simone Inzaghi scoring more for the club (15 in 31 appearances).
Meanwhile, of all players to have netted at least five times in the competition for Lazio, Immobile has the best minutes-per-goal ratio, averaging a goal every 99 minutes.
Boss Sarri is known as an idealist, but if his team are to really test Bayern, a dose of pragmatism may be required. Lazio have averaged 165 pressures in the final third per Champions League game this season, the most of any side in the competition. However, they have only recovered possession in the final third 26 times, ranking 26th among the 32 teams to compete in the group stage.
Lazio vs Bayern Munich Head-to-Head
The only previous meetings between Lazio and Bayern came in the 2020-21 edition of the Champions League, with Bayern winning both legs of a last-16 tie.
On that occasion, the Bavarians won 4-1 at the Stadio Olimpico before triumphing 2-1 in the reverse fixture in Germany.
Bayern have a strong record against Italian sides more generally, winning their last five Champions League matches against Serie A opponents and going unbeaten through their last 12 since losing 3-2 at home to Inter in March 2011.
Indeed, having been eliminated from four of their first five Champions League knockout ties against Italian clubs (including losing the 2010 final to Inter), Bayern have progressed from each of their last three.
Lazio vs Bayern Munich Recent Form
While Lazio have been inconsistent for much of 2023-24, they tend to fare well at the Stadio Olimpico.
Indeed, the Biancocelesti have only lost one of their last 15 home games across all competitions (10 wins, four draws), going down 2-0 to Inter in Serie A in December.
Bayern, though, won all three of their away games en route to topping Group A before Christmas, beating Copenhagen 2-1, Galatasaray 3-1 and Man Utd 1-0.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off on Wednesday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Lazio vs Bayern Munich Prediction
Tuchel needs a response after seeing his side dismantled by Leverkusen on Saturday, and the Opta supercomputer expects the Bayern boss to get one.
Across 10,000 match simulations conducted ahead of Wednesday’s first leg, Bayern are victorious in 56.7% of scenarios. Lazio are given a 20.3% chance of victory on home soil, with 23% of simulations finishing level.
Overall, Bayern’s chances of winning the tie are rated at 79.3%, with Man City (93.9%) the only team seen as more likely to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
In the supercomputer’s tournament predictions, Bayern are given a 10.1% chance of becoming European champions for a seventh time, making them fourth favourites behind City (32.1%), Real Madrid (15.5%) and Inter (11.6%).
Lazio are given just a 0.45% chance of lifting the trophy, with only Copenhagen (0.05%) seen as bigger outsiders.
Lazio vs Bayern Munich UCL Squads
Lazio: Luigi Sepe, Ivan Provedel, Luca Pellegrini, Patric, Alessio Romagnoli, Nicolò Casale, Elseid Hysaj, Manuel Lazzari, Mario Gila, Matías Vecino, Daichi Kamada, Felipe Anderson, Matteo Guendouzi, Luis Alberto, Danilo Cataldi, Nicolò Rovella, Adam Marušić, Pedro, Ciro Immobile, Gustav Isaksen, Valentín Castellanos, Mattia Zaccagni.
Head Coach: Maurizio Sarri.
Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer, Daniel Peretz, Sven Ulreich, Dayot Upamecano, Kim Min-jae, Matthijs de Ligt, Eric Dier, Bouna Sarr, Raphaël Guerreiro, Tarek Buchmann, Noussair Mazraoui, Sacha Boey, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sané, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Alphonso Davies, Konrad Laimer, Jamal Musiala, Serge Gnabry, Harry Kane, Kingsley Coman, Bryan Zaragoza, Thomas Müller, Mathys Tel.
Head Coach: Thomas Tuchel.