Roma will be looking to lay down a marker of their Europa League credentials when they lock horns with Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of their semi-final clash on Thursday evening.
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Jose Mourinho’s men will be eager to upgrade on their Europa League Conference winners’ medals last term, and should they reach the final, they could well face Serie A rivals Juventus.
Mourinho, however, will be reunited with one of his ex-players this week in Xabi Alonso, who has been doing a sterling job at Leverkusen.
The upturn in form for Leverkusen has been down largely to the return to the action of Florian Wirtz, who Roma will have to be aware of across the two ties.
The first leg will make for compelling viewing. To guide you through, we have provided a full lowdown and supplied a couple of tips for you to consider adding to your betting slips.
Roma to hold crucial advantage
It is bound to be an electrifying atmosphere at the Stadio Olimpico, and Roma will want to make home advantage count.
Preparations for this game weren’t ideal for Roma as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at home to Inter Milan last weekend, but they will have quickly eviscerated that from their minds.
Leverkusen, meanwhile, won’t hold back, and they will look to give it a right good go.
Away goals don’t count anymore, however, it is quite easy to find yourself on the back foot and little to play for if you are naïve defensively.
Roma are always eye-catching, and the way they dispatched Feyenoord with consummate ease in the previous round made for impressive viewing.
There will be plenty of chances in this game, and for my first pick, I have gone with Roma to win and BTTS, a price that is available at 7/2 with Paddy Power.
Paulo Dybala to get in among the goals
Although he suffered a muscular injury in a 3-1 defeat away to Atalanta last month, Paulo Dybala is expected to return to the starting line-up against Leverkusen.
With Dybala, one thing you are guaranteed of with him is goals. Indeed, he has netted 17 times in all competitions and he is a crafty forward.
He has in the past received glowing comparisons to Lionel Messi, and Dybala is hard to track at times.
You feel that he will get a chance or two against Leverkusen, and he is usually pretty clinical.
He could well round off the scoring, and for my second pick, I have gone with Dybala at a shorter 5/1 to net the final goal of the game with William Hill.
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