Lazio Atletico Madrid Odds : Diego Simeone returns to Rome in Europa League

There is no doubt that Lazio are not the club they once were. Just over a decade ago, you could have made a good argument for them being the best side in Italy, while around that time they were busy winning the last ever European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Since then they have fallen somewhat and been involved in a number of the scandals that have surrounded Italian football – none more so than the match fixing scandal of 2006.

Now, though, the tides look to be turning, and the Rome based club’s stock is once again on the rise.

Recent wins against the likes of AC Milan and Cesena have signalled their intentions to again be fighting at the top of the Serie A table.

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They currently find themselves in third place, having narrowed the gap on leaders AC Milan to just five points in the last few weeks.

However, their attentions will now be turned to the Europa League where they have another very real chance of picking up silverware this season.

First they must get over the almighty hurdle that is Athletico Madrid.

Admittedly, the Spanish club are not quite what they were two seasons ago when they won the competition, beating Fulham in the final.

Since then they have waved goodbye to a number of key players including Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan and David De Gea.

A six game unbeaten run, though, leaves them still with a chance of qualifying for a Champions’ League place next season – but right now they find themselves occupying sixth place.

With the first leg being played at the Stadio Olimpico, Lazio will know that it is essential that they get off to a good start.

The Italians will undoubtedly be the favourites to come out of this one on top, but whatever happens, this is sure to be one of the most intriguing fixtures of the round.

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