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Preview: AS Roma vs Bayer Leverkusen – prediction, team news, line-ups

Preview: AS Roma vs Bayer Leverkusen – prediction, team news, line-ups

Jose Mourinho will lock horns with a former disciple in Xabi Alonso when AS Roma take on Bayer Leverkusen in their Europa League semi-final first-leg clash at Stadio Olimpico on Thursday night.

The Giallorossi have failed to win any of their last four games since earning a hard-fought win over Feyenoord Rotterdam to book a spot in the Europa League semi-final (D2, L2).

Their most recent setback came against fellow top-four hopefuls Inter Milan in a performance that pleased Mourinho, who was full of praise for his players despite the 2-0 scoreline.

However, the Portuguese tactician will hope his side can snap their unwanted winless run and pick up a positive result on Thursday that could be vital to their continental hopes.

Leverkusen have transformed into a dangerous opposition since Alonso arrived at the club, with Die Werkself losing just one of their last 15 games in all competitions (W11, D3).

Their only setback in that run came in a 2-1 defeat to mid-table Koln in their last outing, but Alonso will hope it is only a blip on the radar as they prepare for another stern test against Roma.

Both sides have faced off on four previous occasions, with each team winning once and the other two ending in stalemate. However, the stakes could not be any higher with a chance at European glory on the line.

Match Preview

Roma have faltered in the Serie A top-four race, so whatever hopes they harbour of featuring in the Champions League next season hinges on success in the Europa League.

Having eliminated Feyenoord in the previous round, the Giallorossi have reached a major European semi-final for the third successive season proving their credentials on the biggest stage.

They have progressed from ten of their last 11 European knockout ties, including the last seven in a row, so they will fancy their chances of winning successive European trophies, having won the Europa Conference League last season.

Leverkusen have improved in leaps and bounds, and that’s credit to Alonso, who has whipped his players into a side that performs at the highest level with results to match.

Having made lightwork of Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in the previous round, Leverkusen have advanced into the semi-finals of a major European competition for only the fourth time.

A fairytale ending to the campaign is still on the cards, with Roma all that stands between them and a chance at their first European silverware since 1988.

AS Roma vs Bayer Leverkusen Potential Line-ups

AS Roma (3-5-1-1): Rui Patricio; Gianluca Mancini, Bryan Cristante, Roger Ibanez; Nicola Zalewski, Mady Camara, Nemanja Matic, Edoardo Bove, Leonardo Spinazzola; Lorenzo Pellegrini; Tammy Abraham.

Bayer Leverkusen (3-4-3): Lukas Hradecky; Edmond Tapsoba, Jonathan Tah, Piero Hincapie; Jeremie Frimpong, Robert Andrich, Nadiem Amiri, Mitchel Bakker; Moussa Diaby, Amine Adli, Florian Wirtz.

We Say: AS Roma 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Clashes between these two sides have produced 19 goals with an average of 4.8 per game, so we should be treated to a thrilling, hard-fought, end-to-end contest.

However, this match should see fewer strikes owing to Mourinho’s pragmatic style of football, with both sides settling for a low-scoring share of the spoils.

Watch Europa League Live

All Europa League games can be streamed live online – see our Europa League live streams page for more information.

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