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May 3, 2015 at 2pm UK at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia
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Preview: Atalanta BC vs. Lazio

Sports Mole looks ahead to this weekend's Serie A match between Atalanta BC and Lazio.

Lazio can move a step closer to securing a place in next season's Champions League by beating Atalanta BC in Bergamo this weekend.

Their opponents are also in need of vital points as they look to move clear of the relegation zone and ensure their place in Serie A for another season.

Atalanta BC

Head coach of SS Lazio Edy Reja looks on during the Serie A match between AC Chievo Verona and SS Lazio at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on February 2, 2014© Getty Images

It has been a tough season for Atalanta, but if results go their way at the weekend, then they can all but secure their place in the top flight.

They are currently in 17th and just a place above the relegation zone, but they are a further eight points clear of both Cagliari and Cesena.

The Nerazzurri's poor run of form this season has cost long-term manager Stefano Colantuono his job after five years at the helm and for the past two months former Lazio manager Edoardo Reja has been in charge.

They have won just one of their eight games since Reja's arrival, although six of those have finished in draws and it is those points that could prove vital in keeping them up.

The club have also shown fighting spirit in recent weeks and in each of their past three games they have come from behind to claim a point. Perhaps the most crucial result was against fellow strugglers Cesena on Wednesday evening, where Mauricio Pinilla scored a late equaliser to earn them a 2-2 draw.

Recent form: DLWDDD


Bologna manager Stefano Pioli on the touchline during the match against Atalanta on November 10, 2013© Getty Images

Lazio seemed to be wobbling slightly after they were beaten by Juventus and held to a draw by Chievo, but a thumping 4-0 win over Parma in midweek has got them firmly back on track.

Three goals inside of 16 minutes set them on their way to a comfortable win against the league's bottom club and helped to keep them a point ahead of Roma in second place.

They are now a further six points clear of Napoli, and if they win all of their remaining games before those teams meet on the final day of the campaign, then they will be assured of a place in next season's Champions League.

Stefano Pioli has made Lazio one of the most dangerous teams to play against and their four goals against Parma moved them level with Juventus as the top scorers in Serie A this season.

The form of attacking duo Miroslav Klose and Felipe Anderson has been crucial and they have scored 22 goals in the league between them, while midfielder Antonio Candreva has weighed in with four goals in his last eight games.

Recent form in Serie A: WWWLDW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWLDW

Team News

Lazio's midfielder Stefano Mauri celebrates after scoring against during the Italian Serie A football match Lazio vs Sassuolo on October 5, 2014© Getty Images

Atalanta will be without German Denis until their final game of the season, due to a ban that he is serving for punching Empoli defender Lorenzo Tonelli.

Yohan Benalouane is also suspended after picking up a booking against Cesena in midweek, so Guglielmo Stendardo is likely to come into the defence.

Pinilla should continue up front following his recent goalscoring form, with Maximiliano Moralez supporting him in the attack.

Meanwhile, Lazio are unable to call upon the services of top-scorer Klose, who sits the game out with a ban.

Stefano Mauri is expected to take his place in the side, although Keita Balde Diao will be pushing for a starting spot after coming off the bench to score in midweek.

However, Stefan de Vrij, Lucas Biglia and Lorik Cana are all still ruled out through injury.

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Sportiello, Bellini, Stendardo, Masiello, Drame, Zappacosta, Cigarini, Carmona, Gomez, Moralez, Pinilla

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Marchetti; Basta, Mauricio, Ciani, Radu, Cataldi, Parolo, Candreva, Mauri, Lulic, Anderson

Head To Head

Lazio cruised to a 3-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico when these teams last met in December.

The Biancocelesti have won five of the previous seven games against Atalanta, although La Dea won both of their meetings in Serie A last season.

It could also prove to be a feisty affair, as there have been four red cards shown in the last seven games between them.

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We say: Atalanta BC 1-3 Lazio

Lazio looked back to their best against Parma and they will hope to keep that run going this weekend. They are within touching distance of earning a place in the Champions League and we think that they will have far too much quality for Atalanta to stop them from winning the match.

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Radja Nainggolan of AS Roma celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between AS Roma and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Olimpico on August 30, 2014
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