Why is Bavaria such a fantastic country

Champions League: Lazio vs. Bayern: Klose is looking forward to a "fantastic evening"

Miroslav Klose is happy. For the assistant to coach Hansi Flick, the business trip with FC Bayern to Rome is an excursion into his own past. For five years, the 2014 world champion wore the Lazio jersey at the end of his great football career.

It was "fantastic years with lots of wonderful moments," said Klose in an interview with FC Bayern before the first leg in the Champions League round of 16. The unforgettable highlight was the 1-0 win in the Italian Cup final against city rivals AS Roma in front of 70,000 spectators in the Stadio Olimpico on May 26, 2013. When Bayern return to the arena, which has been his home for years, the 42-year-old awaits Klose Today Tuesday (9 p.m. / Sky) "a fantastic evening with a great football game" even without hot-blooded fans in the stands.

INITIAL SITUATION: With 16 points and 18: 5 goals, Bayern played the best group stage of all round of 16 participants. But the defending champion is currently vulnerable, as revealed by the youngest stumbling blocks in everyday Bundesliga life. The premier class, however, is a different competition, "special games", as Flick emphasized. The coach, who will turn 56 on Wednesday, wants his team to have a good game and a positive result. Flick announced on Monday that he had "basic trust" in their quality.

STAFF: The Bavarians traveled to Italy with a rump squad of 17 professionals. The dropout list is long, from Thomas Müller to Serge Gnabry to Benjamin Pavard. Flick has high hopes for national player Leon Goretzka, who this time will play directly after a strong 45 comeback minutes in the defeat in Frankfurt. The 26-year-old midfielder has overcome the consequences of the corona infection, reported Flick: "We can bring him right from the start." With his aggressiveness, dynamism and the danger of scoring, Goretzka should try to replace the badly missing Müller as a driver and leader - as long as the forces last.

LAZIO: Klose still watches his ex-club's games on TV. As an insider, he can give Flick a few tips. "I would never make the mistake of belittling the team," said Klose. He thinks Lazio are "a dangerous team". The team of coach Simone Inzaghi qualified second in Group F behind Borussia Dortmund for the knockout phase. Against BVB, the Italians won 3-1 in their own stadium. Away there was a 1: 1.

IMMOBILE AND INZAGHI: In both games, Lazio's leader Ciro Immobile met his former club. Now the striker meets for a shooting competition with Bayern's Robert Lewandowski. The outcome of the striker duel could decide on progress. Klose expects a "close match" on his emotional return to the Eternal City. For him, there will also be a reunion with Inzaghi, whom he briefly experienced as a coach in his last Lazio weeks in 2016.

"I'm happy to see Miro Klose again," said Inzaghi. "He helped me here at Lazio at the beginning." The 44-year-old Inzaghi sees the test of strength with Bayern as the "crowning achievement of the past five years". The Italian, however, knows about the distribution of roles, even if the Munich team is currently weakening: "We are playing against the Champions League winners. Bayern are strong!"

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210222-99-549296 / 3 (dpa)

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