Stuttgart v Lazio preview

Stuttgart striker Federico Macheda is experiencing mixed emotions as he prepares to face his boyhood club Lazio in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Last Updated: 07/03/13 at 17:21

Federico Macheda: Supported Lazio as a child

Federico Macheda: Supported Lazio as a child

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The absence of both the Reds' 13-goal striker Vedad Ibisevic and Germany international Cacau through injury should afford the on-loan Manchester United forward the first start of his loan spell at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, during which he has so far failed to score.

The 21-year-old is determined to make the most of Thursday's opportunity and impress coach Bruno Labbadia enough to seal a permanent move to Germany, but contributing to Lazio's exit could prove to be an emotional wrench.

He told Bild: "To be honest, I'm a Lazio fan. I joined the Lazio youth team at the age of 10 and played there for six years. I still watch every Lazio game on television.

"A loan move was the only option in January but I knew that it might lead to me getting a chance to stay here.

"I would be very happy if Stuttgart gave me a contract. I think I could develop here because the coaches concentrate on working with the young players."

Stuttgart progressed from the group stage and beyond Genk in the last 32 without winning a single home game, but they must make the most of Thursday night's encounter given Lazio's formidable record at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Biancocelesti are unbeaten in 10 European games and have conceded just once in the Italian capital in the process, keeping four successive clean sheets.

Visiting head coach Vladimir Petkovic has not brought injured striker Miroslav Klose back to Germany, where he enjoyed multiple battles against Stuttgart during spells with Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich, but midfielder and captain Stefano Mauri could feature if he shakes off an ankle problem.

Lazio club doctor Stefano Salvatori told La Repubblica: "The news is really good and I would say the chances of seeing him on the pitch at Stuttgart are better than 60 per cent."

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