Miroslav Klose: 'Lazio are a dangerous team'
On Tuesday evening, defending champions FC Bayern will play in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg at Lazio. It'll be a very special match for the Reds' assistant coach Miroslav Klose. The World Cup's record scorer played for the Bavarians for three years before spending a further five in the Italian capital scoring goals for the Laziali. In the run-up to the match, Klose talks about his two former clubs, his memories of his time in Rome and the Serie A club's strengths.
Miroslav Klose - The interview
Miro, FC Bayern face Lazio in the CL Round of 16 on Tuesday. What was your first thought when you heard about the draw?
Klose: "We were in the middle of training, and the players who were a bit tired because they’d played the day before were watching on a small screen – and then I immediately found out what was happening: Lazio, Lazio – Miro, your club! I was incredibly happy. I somehow hoped it would be that club so I could go back to that city, and I’m really pleased it’s happened."
After three years at FC Bayern, you moved to Rome in 2011, where you played until 2016. What are your memories of those five years at Lazio?
"Of course, they were five outstanding years with lots of wonderful moments – including the derby in the cup final that we won 1-0. What we experienced after the game with our own fans, with the open-top bus ride through the city – I’d never seen so many people in one place before in my life, it was like the 2014 World Cup. Really, lots and lots of people on the streets, the fans celebrating and waving flags, and it was incredible. There was a brilliant atmosphere, and those are moments and images that you never forget."
How would you compare FCB and Lazio?
"You can't compare Bayern Munich with Lazio, because they’re completely different types of players and the opposing coaches have different approaches. I would never make the mistake of belittling the team or badmouthing them either – that would be a mistake, because I’m convinced the way they play football makes them a very dangerous team."
FC Bayern travel to Rome as defending champions and are the one team all the others want to beat. What do the players have to watch out for?
"I’ve watched a lot of Lazio games this season and, of course, their strength is primarily being compact – they know playing on the break after winning the ball is their strength, but they also play a pressing game at times and get on the front foot against opponents when they can. I do think they will sit back a bit against us, so they can try and score in counter-attacks. They have hard-running and fast players on the wings who can be a bit dangerous – but I'm sure that if we have a good day, you’ll be able to see the difference on the pitch."
Find out what else Miroslav Klose has to say about Lazio, how he assesses their top scorer Ciro Immobile and what kind of game he expects by watching the complete video interview above.
Team selection, tactics and more - check out Tuesday's press conference with head coach Hansi Flick and Kingsley Coman