The Foals, unbeaten on home soil and without a loss in 39 years against Italian opposition, will nonetheless have their work cut out against a Lazio side who have conceded just twice in this season's UEFA Europa League.
Gladbach left it late to take a point in a hard-fought Rhineland derby, but Patrick Herrmann, scorer of the 89th-minute equaliser that game, believes his side can learn from the performance against Bayer 04 Leverkusen ahead of Thursday's Round of 32 tie. "We've got to present a strong front in the first leg at home," said the 22-year-old in an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com. "We can't afford to make the same careless mistakes as we did against Leverkusen."
While Lucien Favre's charges have scored at least two goals in each of their last five European outings, their focus is on keeping things tight at the back. "Our main aim is to keep a clean sheet on Thursday," explained Spanish defender Alvaro Dominguez, who twice won the competition during his time with Atletico Madrid. "That way we'll be in good stead for the return leg. We've got to be patient in waiting for our chances and then make sure we make them count. It's a match in which we can't take too many risks."
Lazio will be without former SV Werder Bremen and FC Bayern Munich striker Miroslav Klose after the 34-year-old tore ligaments in his right knee. His absence will be keenly felt, although the Italians have plenty more quality at their disposal according to Dominguez.
"Lazio have a very good team. They're very experienced and know how to perform in matches like this, but at the same time I'm confident we've got the tools at our disposal to compete with an outfit like this."