Form is temporary, class is permanent. That is how the saying goes. And never has it been more appropriate than the case of Miroslav Klose, whose double on Monday night against Fiorentina now has Lazio on course for Champions League football next season.
The German may be entering the twilight stages of his career, with retirement edging closer by the game, but his return to form has edged Stefano Poli’s men closer towards a return to the big time. With his plethora of experience, the 36-year-old still has a huge role to play.
Prior to Monday’s clash, Fiorentina occupied fourth and, after Napoli squandered a two-goal lead against Roberto Mancini’s Inter Milan, were expected to continue their recent form with a stellar showing at the Stadio Olympico.
However, what they did not count on was for Poli’s side to be so clinical, with Klose particularly to the fore. His brace were his third and fourth goals in as many games, having previously been on the scoresheet against Napoli in the Coppa Italia and Sassuolo in the league.
Lucas Biglia and Antonio Candreva were also on the scoresheet as the hosts’ ran riot, and Lazio will now be confident of securing a place in Europe’s top-tier competition after a stellar display that leaves them third in the standings with 12 games left to play.
With Klose having rediscovered his shooting boots, the World Cup winner could now be the deciding factor as to who finishes behind Juventus in the final two Champions League slots.
Throughout his career goals have always been the main thing on his mind. Whether it be back in 1998 with first flame FC Homburg, the Allianz Arena with Bayern Munich or the Stadio Olympico with a resurgent Lazio, his very presence is central to the club’s plans.
Just last summer he broke yet more records in the colours of his country. First, prior to the commencement of the World Cup in Brazil, he surpassed Gerd Muller’s international goalscoring record before then beating Ronaldo’s record of 15 goals in the tournament itself, albeit having appeared in one more than his Brazilian counterpart.
12 games remain and, with 36 points to play for, Serie A is promising excitement perhaps lacking in the race for the Scudetto.
Yet what may prove a potential banana skin is their last four games of the season. Inter come to town on May 9, before crunch ties against Sampdoria, Napoli and Roma.
The final trio of fixtures could define their season. Klose will need to keep producing if he is to steer Lazio back to the biggest stage in European football.