Paul Gascoigne will undergo his first major test since returning from a 12-month injury- enforced absence when he plays for Lazio in the Rome derby tomorrow.
Gascoigne, who has just recovered from a broken leg, is sure to be given a rough ride by Roma with local pride at stake, but his place in the Lazio side is almost guaranteed with his club badly affected by international withdrawals for next week's European Championship qualifiers. Lazio will be without their Croat striker, Alen Boksic, and the Dutch midfielder, Aron Winter, while Roma's Swedish midfielder, Jonas Thern, is unavailable and their Uruguyan striker, Daniel Fonseca, is doubtful with a knee problem.
A 75,000-capacity attendance is expected at the Olympic stadium and the match comes at a bad time for Lazio, who have been eliminated from both the Italian and Uefa Cups in the last month. In joint fifth place in Serie A, trailing the leaders, Juventus, by 17 points, Lazio face the prospect of missing out on next year's Uefa Cup. Juventus, who qualified to face Parma in the Uefa Cup final by defeating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 on Tuesday, could be troubled at home by relegation-threatened Padova.
The Turin club will be without all four foreigners: the Frenchman Didier Deschamps, Paulo Sousa of Portugal and the Croat Roberto Jarni, who are all on international duty, and the injured German defender Jrgen Kohler.
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich, outclassed by Ajax in the European Cup semi- finals in midweek, have suffered another setback before their crucial match with the Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund today.
The inexperienced Bayern team, already deprived of the captain, Lothar Matthus, and the French striker, Jean-Pierre Papin, through long-term injuries, will also be without the German international defender Thomas Helmer who has a thigh strain.
The German champions, humbled 5-2 by Ajax in the Champions' Cup second leg on Wednesday, now have a battle to qualify for a Uefa Cup place next season and, with eight games remaining, the Bavarians are sixth, six points behind Dortmund.
Dortmund, who went out of the Uefa Cup semi-finals at the hands of Juventus on Tuesday, could be without the sweeper Matthias Sammer, who has a nasal complaint, and the Brazilian defender Julio Cesar who has a leg muscle injury. Dortmund are one point ahead of Bremen, who meet the fourth-placed Kaiserslautern.
In Spain, the league leaders Real Madrid and Valencia both have injury problems before their game in the Bernabeu stadium. But one player who is expected to turn out is Valencia and Spain goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, who will be making his 500th First Division appearance. And to complete a double landmark, Zubizarreta is also expected to win his 100th international cap in a European Championship group two qualifier against Armenia next week.Reuse content