December 6, 2012
Petkovic wary of Maribor threat
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.7||1.7|
|Goals against *||1.7||0.7|
|Last 5 home||L-D-W||D-W-W-D-W|
|Last 5 away||L-L-L||L-W-D-W-D|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: NK Maribor | Lazio|
Lazio head coach Vladimir Petkovic is all too aware that Maribor are determined to deny his side top spot in Group J.
The Biancocelesti have already qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League and they will top the group with victory in Slovenia, or if Tottenham fail to beat Panathinaikos.
Should Lazio finish level on points with Spurs, first place will be decided on overall goal difference, overall goals scored and then, if required, European coefficient.
Maribor may be out of contention, but Petkovic knows they will give his side absolutely no quarter at Stadion Ljudski vrt.
He told La Repubblica: "The boys have had two days off and there will be some rotation. I need a team that is ready to compete and to win.
"We go to Slovenia to face a strong team that will give everything it possibly can give to win and so we have to be ready to take all three points and top spot in the group.
"We have to play with intelligence.''
Petkovic is likely to start with Sergio Floccari and Libor Kozak in attack, with young Nigerian midfielder Ogenyi Onazi afforded a rare first-team outing.
Germany international Miroslav Klose has been afforded extra time to recuperate in Rome after picking up a muscle injury against Parma on Sunday.
Petkovic added: "I've been assured that it's nothing serious. He knows best how to manage these problems in order to avoid suffering more serious problems.''
Maribor have won only one of their last five Europa League home games, beating Panathinaikos 3-0 on matchday one, while Lazio have not lost outside of Italy this season.
Maribor coach Darko Milanic said: "I want it to be a really intense game and hopefully we will beat a tough opponent like Lazio.
"Unfortunately we've suffered a lot of injuries from having played so many games.''