Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/10
Looking to finish off the job and punch their Europa League final ticket on Thursday night, Roma will make the trip to Germany when they meet Bayer Leverkusen.
Starting with the hosts, while Bayer Leverkusen might have shocked many on their Europa League adventure this season, Xabi Alonso’s side are in the midst of a recent wobble. Putting in a toothless display away in Italy last week as they eventually slumped to a first-leg 1-0 loss, the one-time Liverpool midfielder has seen his squad fail to win any of their last four appearances across all competitions. Failing to pick up much momentum last weekend as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw away at Stuttgart, Die Werkself will know that they face an uphill battle on Thursday night. However, despite being last seen at the BayArena getting hit with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Koln, it should be noted that is the only loss that Leverkusen have suffered on home soil from their previous seven contests – a run that stems all the way back to February 19th.
Bayer Leverkusen have already confirmed that they will be without the likes of Robert Andrich, Odilon Kossounou and Andrey Lunyov on Thursday night. Likewise, still dealing with a long-term groin injury, attacking talisman Patrik Schick remains on the sidelines.
Notching 14 goals and a further 10 assists this season, attacking talisman Moussa Diaby will have a key role to play at the BayArena. Although Adam Hlozek might have drawn a blank in each of his last four appearances, the 20-year-old should spearhead Alonso’s attack here.
As for the visitors, while Roma might have secured a first-leg advantage when they welcomed Leverkusen to the Stadio Olimpico last week, Jose Mourinho’s side have struggled with their consistency over recent times. Despite being sat in pole position to reach back-to-back European finals on Thursday night, the ex-Manchester United boss has seen his squad muster just a single victory from their last six appearances across all competitions. Forced to settle for a 0-0 stalemate away at Bologna last week, the Italian heavyweights have shown some extended issues in the final third. With last week’s first-leg strike the only goal that Roma have scored in over 300 minutes of action, the Giallorossi have also gained a reputation for their struggles on the road. In fact, on a run that stems all the way back to January 22nd, Mourinho’s side have remarkably picked up just one win from their last 11 attempts.
Roma will travel to the BayArena without the duo of Marash Kumbulla and Rick Karsdorp on Thursday night. Likewise, Mourinho is still sweating over the fitness of Diego Llorente, Stephan El Shaarawy and former England international Chris Smalling when they arrive in Germany.
Despite mustering just a pair of strikes across all competitions since the start of February, ex-Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham should be handed a full recall here. Likewise, although Paulo Dybala might not have made a single start since April 8th, the former Juventus ace could join Abraham in attack.
Key Factors to Consider
- When Real Sociedad and Roma met for their first-leg meeting at the Stadio Olimpico last week, Mourinho’s men claimed a 1-0 victory on home soil.
- However, the Italian giants have remarkably recorded just a single win from any of their last 11 straight appearances outside of Rome.
- Likewise, Bayer Leverkusen have also failed to win any of their previous four appearances across all competitions.
- Roma have scored just a single goal in over 300 minutes of action.
- Despite suffering a 2-1 loss against Koln in their last appearance at the BayArena, that is the only home defeat that Leverkusen have tasted in their last seven appearances.
Managing to claim what was a nervy 1-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico last week, Roma will simply be looking to finish off the job on Thursday night. However, although the Italian giants might be sat in pole position to reach back-to-back European finals, they have shown some rather glaring issues on the road. Remarkably winning just one of their previous 11 straight contests outside of Rome, neutrals could be treated to another cagey affair from the BayArena. With Roma bagging only a single strike in over 300 minutes of action, chances could come at a premium in midweek. Two sides who are showing their own recent inconsistencies in the final third, we are backing under 2.5 goals here.
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/10
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