Lazio vs Atletico MadridUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Sep 19, 2023, Stadio Olimpico
LAZIO and Atletico Madrid are favourites to progress from Group E of the Champions League and both teams will be looking to lay down a marker as they face off in Rome for the opening fixture.
The Serie A side are back at Europe's top table for the first time in three years after Maurizio Sarri led them to second place in Italy last term behind runaway champions Napoli.
Lazio have since lost Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to the Saudi riches but Sarri has managed to keep last season's side together while adding the likes of Taty Castellanos, Gustav Isaksen, Matteo Cancellieri and Daichi Kamada to his squad.
Results have been poor so far in Serie A, with three defeats out of four, but Lazio showed they can still rise to the occasion by beating champions Napoli on the road just before the international break.
Now Sarri's men will have to lift themselves again for the visit of an Atletico Madrid side who are desperate to restore their status as genuine Champions League force.
After reaching two finals in three years during the early years of Diego Simeone's reign, Atletico haven't progressed past the quarter-finals since 2017. They finished bottom of a relatively easy group last term so fans will be demanding more of the team in this European campaign.
Atletico Madrid started the new La Liga season well, with a 7-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano before the international break making it seven points from nine. But they crashed to a 3-0 loss at Valencia on their return to action on Saturday and need a response when they head to the Eternal City to face Lazio.
How the bookies view it
This is a tough one to call but I'm surprised to see Atletico Madrid as favourites given they're the away team. Lazio are as big as 41/20 at BetUK while Atletico's best price is 31/20 at Betfair and the draw pays 12/5 at William Hill.
Head to head
These sides have played each other four times and it's Atletico Madrid who have the edge, with two wins and just one defeat. The Stadio Olimpico has been a happy hunting ground for the Spaniards, with a 0-0 draw in 1998 followed by a 3-1 victory there in 2012.
Players to watch
Ciro Immobile scored for Italy in North Macedonia during the international break but it wasn't enough to secure a victory, much to the dismay of our man Gabriel. The Lazio striker likes the big stage and is 12/5 at BetVictor to open his Champions League account this season.
Alvaro Morata did even better during the international break as he scored a hat-trick for Spain in their 7-1 rout of Georgia. That took his tally to six for the season and the Atletico Madrid striker is 11/5 at William Hill for a goal in Rome.
Anything else catch the eye?
Atletico Madrid are renowned for their take-no-prisoners approach under Simeone so it's always worth backing a few cards whenever they're in Champions League action. Unibet price over 5.5 match cards at 6/5 and have over 3.5 Atletico cards at 37/20.
For longer odds it could pay to back individual players to fall foul of the referee. Alessio Romagnoli collected eight yellows for Lazio last term and is 3/1 at Unibet to be carded while the same firm price Atletico's Mario Hermoso at 5/2 for a fourth card this term.
This UEFA Champions League match between Lazio and Atletico Madrid will be played on Sep 19, 2023 and kick off at 20:00. Check below for our tipsters best Lazio vs Atletico Madrid prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.