Rudi Voller has tipped Roma to win the Serie A title, but hopes to be the architect of their Champions League downfall with Bayer Leverkusen this week.
Leverkusen face Roma on Wednesday seeking to boost their hopes of making the last 16 with a win against Group E’s bottom side and in desperate need of points.
After a thrilling 4-4 draw at home to Roma last time out in Europe, a win for Leverkusen in the Italian capital coupled with Group E rivals Barcelona beating BATE at home will leave Rudi Garcia’s men with a mountain to climb to reach the knockout stages.
But Leverkusen sporting director Voller, who has played for and coached Roma in his career, is expecting a stern test against a side he believes are potential Scudetto winners.
“I’m jealous because you don’t have to deal with Bayern Munich, though I think Roma can win the Scudetto,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It’s not a given that [Tuesday’s] match will be more prudent, though it could end 0-0 or 1-0.
“Only four days ago we had a similar match with Stuttgart that ended 4-3. If we don’t lose at the Olimpico we will have a small advantage in terms of qualifying, but it will be a difficult encounter.”
While Voller enjoyed a strong spell with Roma as a player, winning the Coppa Italia and reaching the UEFA Cup final, his coaching spell at the Stadio Olimpico lasted just a month.
“Rome never changes. It’s the same as it was in 1987. I’ve had great experiences there. I arrived from northern Germany but landed in southern Italy,” added the 55-year-old.
“I was loved by the people in Bremen but when I landed at the airport there were hundreds of people waiting for me. It was completely different to how things were in Germany.
“I learned what a derby actually meant [in Rome]. At Bremen our rivals were Hamburg, however if we lost we were only left with disappointment and nothing else.
“However in Rome, we lost after a Paolo Di Canio goal and we were forced to train with police outside of Trigoria.”