2-0 down from last week's home leg and struggling for form in the Bundesliga, Bruno Labbadia's side will undoubtedly have to pull out all the stops to keep the German flag flying in this season's tournament.
"Make the impossible possible"
“We want to make the impossible possible and that is how we’ll be approaching the game,” the head coach vowed: "You go into every match with hope, even after a result like that against strong opponents. Otherwise, we wouldn't be in the business of playing football. We're here and we'll try to play as well as we can."
The Bundesliga's 14th-placed club will be doing so to the echoing backdrop of an empty Stadio Olimpico, as Lazio play out the first of two games behind closed doors. European football's governing body UEFA hit the Serie A club up with the punishment following an investigation into crowd trouble during last month's 2-0 Round of 32 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Good away record
How that will affect the encounter remains to be seen. Overall, Stuttgart actually performed fairly well in the first leg, but a lack of incision combined with a couple of defensive lapses ultimately proved costly. “All I can say is that we had chances too, but Lazio were very clinical with theirs. We expect much the same this time. It's up to us to give them fewer scoring opportunities and hopefully make the most of our own," said Labbadia, who once again has at his disposal the very man to transform his side's fortunes in front of goal.
Vedad Ibisevic was suspended for last week's meeting, but the Bosnia-Herzegovina international returns this evening to spearhead the Stuttgart attack. His presence will undoubtedly be a major boost against a Lazio side unbeaten so far in the tournament. Having themselves already racked up three Europa League wins on the road, however, VfB do at least have some justifiable grounds for hope.
Lazio: Marchetti - Pereirinha, Biava, Ciani, Radu - Candreva, Onazi, Mauri, Ederson, Lulic - Kozak
Stuttgart: Ulreich - Sakai, Rüdiger, Tasci, Molinaro - Kvist, Gentner - Okazaki, Hajnal, Traore - Ibisevic