Bayer Leverkusen vs AS Roma: Preview and Prediction

A place in the UEFA Europa League final will be on the line when Bayer Leverkusen and AS Roma clash at BayArena on Thursday.

The 2023/24 UEFA Europa League has reached its penultimate stage, with only three matches remaining before we crown a new winner. One of the two semi-finals is evenly poised, while in the other, Bayer Leverkusen will aim to drive home the two-goal advantage over AS Roma in the second leg at BayArena on Thursday night.

Only five more games remain for Bayer Leverkusen to script history. The newly-crowned and record-breaking Bundesliga champions are yet to taste defeat in any competition thus far this term. Xabi Alonso has galvanised his squad, taking them to the league title, the DFB Pokal final and the UEFA Europa League semi-final. And after winning the first leg against AS Roma, they are a step closer to realising their treble dreams.

Speaking of AS Roma, they have enjoyed a superb upturn in form and fortunes since Daniele De Rossi replaced Jose Mourinho at the helm at Stadio Olimpico. The 40-year-old has only overseen four losses, one of which came in the first leg against Bayer Leverkusen. Meanwhile, the Giallorossi will be vying for a top-five finish in Serie A, with the fifth spot earning a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League.

As iterated earlier, Bayer Leverkusen clinched a 2-0 win over AS Roma in the first leg, with Florian Wirtz and Robert Andrich finding the back of the net. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Bayer Leverkusen

Xabi Alonso does not have any new roster issues hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against AS Roma on Thursday, the Bayer Leverkusen manager will be bereft of the services of only one first-team player, Noah Mbamba.

Matej Kovar should take his spot between the sticks instead of captain Lukas Hradecky, with Bayer Leverkusen lining up in a 3-4-2-1 formation in front of him against AS Roma. The central defensive unit will likely comprise Edmond Tapsoba, Jonathan Tah, and Piero Hincapie.

So, Josip Stanisic and Odilon Kossounou miss out amid severe competition for places. Meanwhile, Jeremie Frimpong and Alejandro Grimaldo should be the two wing-backs, with the duo being the creative workhorses for the home side.

As for the midfield unit, there is no looking past the combination of Robert Andrich and Granit Xhaka, with Exequiel Palacios missing out. Finally, Victor Boniface should spearhead the Bayer Leverkusen attack against AS Roma, with Amine Adli and Florian Wirtz supporting him in the offensive department.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Kovar; Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie; Frimpong, Xhaka, Andrich, Grimaldo; Adli, Wirtz; Boniface

AS Roma

Like his counterpart in the Bayer Leverkusen dugout, Daniele De Rossi does not have many issues to deal with ahead of the trip to BayArena. The AS Roma manager might be without one first-team player on Thursday.

De Rossi is sweating over the fitness of Paulo Dybala, with the Argentine international facing a race against time to recover from a groin injury. However, he should be available to take on Bayer Leverkusen.

De Rossi might take a risk with Dybala even if he is not a 100% fit. So, the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner should join Romelu Lukaku and Stephan El Shaarawy in the final third. As for the midfield unit, Leandro Paredes should look to keep things tight in the middle of the park, with Bryan Cristante and captain Lorenzo Pellegrini supporting him in the central areas.

Mile Svilar will feature between the sticks, with AS Roma lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him against Bayer Leverkusen. Finally, the backline should comprise Rick Karsdorp, Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, and Leonardo Spinazzola.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Svilar; Karsdorp, Mancini, Smalling, Spinazzola; Cristante, Paredes, Pellegrini; Dybala, Lukaku, El Shaarawy

Key Stats

  • Across the previous seven meetings between Bayer Leverkusen and AS Roma, both sides have shared two victories apiece (D3). However, Leverkusen’s win in the first leg was the first time the away side won a clash between these two teams (2-0).
  • AS Roma have failed to emerge victorious on their last six away trips to face German sides in European competition (D2 L4), netting only six goals combined across those games. Their most recent victory dates back to December 2000, a 3-0 win over Hamburger SV in the UEFA Cup (round of 32, second leg).
  • With nine wins from 11 games in the Europa League this season (D2), Bayer Leverkusen’s win percentage (82%) is the highest of any side to play 10+ games in a single campaign since Atletico Madrid in 2011/12 (87% – 13/15), with Los Rojiblancos lifting the trophy that season.
  • Florian Wirtz has created the most chances from open play (28) in the UEFA Europa League thus far this season. This is the most by a player aged 21 or under in a single campaign in the competition since being rebranded in 2009/10.
  • Romelu Lukaku has netted seven goals in 12 games in the Europa League this season, the second-most of any player after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (10). However, Lukaku is currently on a run of three games without a goal in the competition, his longest run of starts within the same campaign without scoring since 2010/11 with Anderlecht (4).

Player to Watch

Granit Xhaka

Embed from Getty Images

After taking a two-goal lead in Rome last week, Bayer Leverkusen’s priority will be to see off AS Roma and ease into the UEFA Europa League final without any hiccups. That brings Granit Xhaka into the picture.

The Swiss international has been an exceptional signing for Bayer Leverkusen, solidifying the midfield unit while ensuring smooth and quick transitions from defence to attack. Xhaka’s defensive acumen will hold the home side in good stead as they look to keep AS Roma at bay this midweek.


Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 AS Roma

The UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg against AS Roma was a rare recent match where Bayer Leverkusen did not concede many openings or let in a goal. However, with qualification to the UEFA Champions League via a top-five finish in Serie A not guaranteed, the visitors will give their all to topple the Bayer Leverkusen juggernaut and give themselves a safety net.

However, the gulf in quality and form will prove telling as the minutes wear on. Eventually, the home side will have enough in their kitty to go past a resilient AS Roma. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Xabi Alonso and his charges. With that, they will set a new European unbeaten record, passing Benfica’s tally of 48 in all competitions between December 1963 and February 1965.

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