Bayer Leverkusen will travel to the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday, as the German side prepare to face Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma. The Italian side haven’t won any of their last four games – settling for just two draws and the same number of losses.
I Giallorossi have dropped down the Serie A table as a result, sitting in a measly seventh place ahead of this semifinal encounter. In fact, those two aforementioned losses came against Inter Milan and Atalanta – with both sides using those three points to rise into the European spots.
Bayer Leverkusen currently sit sixth in the Bundesliga, occupying the sole qualifying spot for next season’s UEFA Europa Conference League. In truth, they don’t look capable of rising much higher in the standings – but they remain under pressure from VfL Wolfsburg and Mainz, as both teams look to play on the European stage next season.
Let’s turn the focus back to this season’s Europa League. AS Roma came second in their group, meaning they’d face an additional playoff tie before joining the traditional knockout stages. They cruised past RB Salzburg though, in order to set up a mouthwatering tie against high-flying Real Sociedad. Mourinho’s side secured a comfortable 2-0 win at home, before settling for a goalless draw in Spain. I Giallorossi looked to have suffered a setback after losing the first leg of their quarterfinal against Feyenoord, but a dominant performance at home was enough to seal progression.
As for Bayer Leverkusen, a disappointing third-place finish in a weak Champions League group saw them drop down to the Europa League – where they too would have to enter the additional playoff round. They saw off AS Monaco on penalties, before comfortably finding a way past Ferencvaros in the round-of-sixteen. The Germans were held to a draw at home by Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in the quarterfinal, but an utterly superb performance on the road ensured that Xabi Alonso’s side progressed.
Marash Kumbulla has recently undergone surgery to resolve a knee injury – so he’ll be out of action for some time. Chris Smalling will also miss tonight’s game through injury, but AS Roma will be bolstered by the return of Paolo Dybala and Georginio Wijnaldum.
The loss of Karim Bellerabi through injury will be a huge blow for Bayer Leverkusen, as the German winger picked up an injury in their final training session. He joins Patrik Schick, Andre Lunev and Charles Aranguiz on the sidelines – while Daley Sinkgraven and Noah Mbamba miss out as they’re not registered for the Europa League.
AS Roma: Patricio; Mancini, Cristante, Ibanez; Zalewski, Matic, Wijnaldum, Spinazzola; Pellegrini, Dybala; Abraham
Bayer Leverkusen: Hradecky; Kossounou, Tah, Hincapie; Frimpong, Andrich, Tapsoba, Bakker; Diaby, Adli, Wirtz
Where can I watch?
Kickoff in Rome is at 8pm UK time on Thursday, 11 May 2023. The game will be shown live on BT Sport 3, with coverage starting at 7:45pm. If you don’t have BT Sport, fear not – we’ll have a detailed match report published within minutes of the final whistle.