Stadio Olimpico forms the backdrop for the first leg of a heavyweight Europa League semi-final tie between Roma vs Leverkusen. Thursday’s showdown in Rome could prove crucial to the home side’s bid to add another European silverware to their trophy cabinet.
Roma vs Leverkusen: Match Preview
Since a 4-1 second-leg victory over Feyenoord in their Europa League quarter-final tie, Jose Mourinho’s men have been in freefall. Last weekend’s 2-0 home loss to fierce rivals Inter condemned the Giallorossi to a fourth straight Serie A game without winning (D2, L2), dropping them outside European placings.
With a first top-four finish in Serie A since 2018/19 now looking increasingly unlikely, the emphasis is on making a standout achievement in the Europa League. After guiding Roma to their first-ever European success during last season’s triumphant Europa Conference League campaign, Mourinho hopes to emulate that result in Europe’s second-tier competition.
Lifting the Europa League crown is seemingly the only route into next season’s Champions League for Roma. But the Giallorossi will have to roll up their sleeves to overcome high-flying Leverkusen in only their fifth-ever European encounter.
Yet, Cologne’s unexpected 2-1 win at the BayArena last Friday may have derailed the visitors’ spirits.
Despite experiencing an abysmal start to the season and a horrendous Champions League group-stage campaign, the Germans have recovered under Xabi Alonso.
The Spaniard’s impressive work has helped Leverkusen reach the semi-finals of a major European competition for only the fourth time, last coming this far in the 2001/02 Champions League season.
And like Roma, they are also on the verge of missing out on a top-four finish in their domestic championship, highlighting the significance of taking home the Europa League trophy. With that in mind, this promises to be a treat for the neutrals.
With Rick Karsdorp and Marash Kumbulla ruled out with injuries, Mourinho may have to make several defensive alterations, especially considering Diego Llorente has failed to impress the Roma boss. But the hosts will have a star-studded frontline fit and ready.
As for Leverkusen, standout forward Patrik Schick is the only notable absentee. Yet, it’s worth noting that Alonso’s lads have come this far without last season’s highest goalscorer. In addition to the Czech Republic international, Charles Aranguiz will remain on the sidelines.
Roma vs Leverkusen: Head to Head:
These two teams have played four times against each other. AS Roma and Bayer Leverkusen have won one each and two matches ending in draw.
Roma haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last five matches.
AS Roma boss Jose Mourinho doesn’t boast a hugely impressive record against German teams, with only seven wins, 11 losses, and 3 draws.
Bayer Leverkusen are unbeaten in their last seven away games.
Leverkusen have won on all three of their knockout trips away from home this season, scoring nine and conceding just three, which included victories at Monaco, Ferencvaros & Union St.Gilloise.
AS Roma Predicted Lineup (3-4-3): Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Celik, Cristante, Matic, Spinazzola; Pellegrini (c), Belotti, Abraham
Bayer Leverkusen Predicted Lineup (3-4-2-1): Hradecky (c); Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie; Frimpong, Andrich, Palacios, Bakker; Wirtz, Diaby; Hlozek
ASR vs BAY: Fantasy XI
Patricio; Mancini,Tah, Hincapie; Frimpong, Pellegrini, Andrich, Palacios, Wirtz, Diaby; Abraham