Lazio vs Pescara, Preview: European hopefuls tackle Serie A strugglers

Giuseppe Bellini

This is a must win game for both teams, who have Champions League aspirations and Serie A survival at stake.

Lazio need victory to re-take third place outright from AC Milan, ahead of their big meeting next weekend at the San Siro. On the opposite side of the scale, Pescara desperately require three points to arrest their recent slump. The Delfini are five points adrift of nearest sides Bologna and Genoa, who currently occupy the final Serie A safety slots.

In the seven games since beating Fiorentina on their own patch at the turn of the year, Pescara have picked up just a solitary point. Under-fire coach Cristiano Bergodi is living in the shadow of fans favourite Zdenek Zeman, who has been linked with a return ever since getting the boot from Roma last month. A section of disgruntled supporters walked out in protest before the end of last weekend's defeat to Cagliari. Thus far, President Daniele Sebastiani has resisted calls to fire both Bergodi and sporting director Daniele Delli Carri.

Lazio have also found points hard to come by in the league recently, taking just two from a possible 15. After being humbled at Siena last Monday, the Eagles bounced back with a morale boosting 2-0 victory over Borusssia Monchengladbach on Thursday night to take them through to the last 16 of the Europa League.

Vladimir Petkovic could recall Stefano Mauri, after the midfielder returned to training following a freak injury sustained in a goal celebration against Napoli. Michael Ciani is suspended, while Cristian Brocchi and Miroslav Klose remain long term absentees. Pescara will be missing a lot of their prized assets through injury and suspension. Vladimir Weiss' petulance has landed him another spell in the sin bin at a time when Pescara could really do with him on the pitch.

Lazio strolled to a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Adriatico back in Week 7. Mattia Perin looks likely to be the busiest of both goalkeepers during this game, but Pescara are more than capable of springing a surprise. Fiorentina can attest to that.

Lazio injuries and suspensions

Out: Cristian Brocchi, Miroslav Klose (injured) Michael Ciani (suspended)

Pescara injuries and suspensions

Out: Gaetano D'Agostino, Juan Quintero, Eugenio Romulo Togni (injured) Damiano Zanon, Manuele Blasi, Vladimir Weiss (suspended)

Match Date/Time: Monday 25th February 2013 8:00 p.m. local, 2:00 p.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy

TV: Sky Calcio 1, Premium Calcio (Italy) beIN Sport, beIN Sport en Espanol (U.S) ESPN (UK)

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