Europa League Preview: Vitesse v Lazio

14 September 2017 | 8:39 am

Europa League Preview: Vitesse v Lazio

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Vitesse Arnhem kicks off their Europa League campaign by hosting Italian side Lazio on Thursday evening.

Vitesse have never featured in the Europa League group stages since its creation but after winning the KNVB Cup last season they have taken their place in Group K alongside Lazio, OGC Nice and Zulte Waregem. The Arnhem side are the only Dutch club left in the tournament and they will be looking to get off to a good start on Thursday when Lazio visits the GelreDome Stadion.

Henk Fraser’s side have been impressive in the Eredivisie so far with their 3-0 win at Excelsior at the weekend moving them into second spot. The club invested well during the summer to assemble a squad capable of challenging on two fronts, with new signings Tim Matavz, Bryan Linssen and Thomas Bruns all performing well so far, along with Luc Castaignos who has added another strong option to their bench.

Speaking at his press conference, Fraser said his side have a chance, but he is hoping Lazio have an off-day, “I have seen them against Milan and it’s a complete team. But also a Lazio B team will be quite strong. We must hope that they underestimate us or have an off day. There are our chances. ”

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Lazio lost key men Lucas Biglia, Keita Balde Diao and Wesley Hoedt during the summer, but managed to retain Dutchman Stefan de Vrij. The centre back has stated they will not underestimate Vitesse on Thursday, “We gave so much to get back into Europe and now want to start well.

“We studied Vitesse, a team that really know how to play the ball, are quick in attack and have a lot of quality. We’ll need the utmost concentration and there’s no risk of underestimating them.”

Lazio started the Serie A season slowly, drawing 0-0 with SPAL, but have since beaten Chievo 2-1 and hammered AC Milan 4-1 at the weekend.

Team News

Vitesse will be without key midfielder Thulani Serero, who has a knee injury and defender Arnold Kruiswijk, who has not recovered from a bad back. Milot Rahica and Guram Kashia were rested at the weekend against Excelsior but will return to the starting line-up.

Possible Vitesse line-up: Pasveer, Dabo, Buttner, Kashia, Miazga, Bruns, Foor, Colkett, Linssen, Rashica, Matavz

Felipe Anderson and Nani are out for Lazio, who are set to rest a number of first team players including Stefan de Vrij, Ciro Immobile and Brazilian defender Wallace. Coach Felipe Inzaghi has stated that summer signing Lucas Leiva will start in the centre of defence.

Possible Lazio line-up: Strakosha, Bastos, Lucas Leiva, Luiz Felipe, Marusic, Parolo, Di Gennaro, Murgia, Lukaku, Luis Alberto, Caicedo

Odds

Vitesse 16/5 Draw 11/4 Lazio 10/11

Vitesse in Europe

Vitesse appeared in the UEFA Cup nine times in their history, but the furthest they ever got was the third round in 2003 when they were knocked out by Liverpool. The club has qualified for the Europa League three times, but never got past the 3rd qualifying round.

The club’s greatest result in Europe came during the 2001 UEFA Cup as they held Inter Milan to a draw in each leg of their 2nd round tie, but exited on away goals.

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Vitesse have never met Lazio in European competition.






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