Leverkusen vs Roma – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Thursday 18th May 2023
As part of our Europa League Predictions, we take a look at the second leg of the semi-final tie between Leverkusen and Roma. This tie remains in the balance, with neither side scoring many of late – can Roma squeak through? Read on with our Leverkusen vs Roma prediction.
Leverkusen vs Roma Preview
The first leg of this Europa League semi-final clash between Leverkusen and Roma yielded an exact score prediction for us, and the game itself was a fair reflection of our analysis. Leverkusen started the brighter of the two teams and played some great intricate football, and were arguably a little unfortunate not to find themselves ahead. However, following that opening flurry, Roma took charge of the match and nullified the Germans as they grew progressively more dangerous themselves.
After they took the lead through Bove following up Abraham’s close-range effort, the home side failed to find a second goal and Leverkusen had a golden opportunity to equalise, with Cristante’s body ultimately getting in the way of a goalbound effort. This leaves the tie on a knife edge, with two evenly matched teams and a fascinating tactical battle to boot.
It’s fair to say that Leverkusen have gone off the boil somewhat in the latter stages of the season. Six points from five matches in the Bundesliga and just two victories in eight matches in all competitions has seen Alonso’s men fall out of contention for both Champions League qualification and also renders them dependent upon events elsewhere for Europa League qualification.
Eintracht Frankfurt winning the DFB Pokal final would see them qualify for the Europa League at Leverkusen’s expense, whereas a Red Bull Leipzig victory would open up another Bundesliga qualification spot. Of course, Bayer Leverkusen could bypass this process by winning the Europa League and qualifying for the Champions League group stages instead.
Roma have faltered in their quest to qualify for Champions League football through Serie A, but their heavily rotated team selection against Bologna on the weekend shows that they clearly believe their best chance of qualifying for the Champions League lies in winning the Europa League. Jose Mourinho has always placed a high priority upon European competition wherever he has been so this isn’t much of a surprise.
Nevertheless, we’ll point out that Roma have won just 1 in 6 matches in all competitions – the reverse fixture of this tie. They’ve clearly missed the technical ability and goalscoring talents of Paulo Dybala, who is set for a return in this fixture. It will be disconcerting for the Roma coaching staff that nobody has been able to step up in the absence of the diminutive Argentinean, and therefore his return will provide a welcome boost.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Andrich, Bellarabi, Kossounou, Lunev, Schick
Might Not Play: Dybala, El Shaarawy, Smalling
Will Not Play: Karsdorp, Kumbulla, Llorente
Leverkusen vs Roma Lineups (Predicted)
Leverkusen (3-4-3): Hradecky; Hincapie, Tah, Tapsoba; Bakker, Palacios, Amiri, Frimpong; Wirtz, Diaby, Hlozek
Roma (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Ibanez, Cristante, Smalling; Spinazzola, Matic, Wijnaldum, Zalewski; Dybala, Pellegrini; Belotti
Leverkusen vs Roma Analysis
Leverkusen Will Try to Catch Roma Cold
It’s noteworthy that Leverkusen started the brighter of the two sides, and they played much of their best football within the first 20 minutes or so. It’s always difficult to capitalise upon your chances at this level, but they went close on a couple of occasions and found that they had the ability to slice through the Roma midfield with some high-tempo yet intricate play.
Unfortunately for Alonso’s men, Roma were able to settle and stem the tide before working their way back into the match, initially from some set pieces but also through effective transitions in the second half. Mourinho prefers his sides to deliver the quick ball beyond the last man wherever possible, and the longer the game remains level the more likely it is that Leverkusen will make mistakes and present Roma with the opportunity to play in the likes of Dybala and Belotti.
If Leverkusen are able to replicate their fast start on home territory, they could find themselves at 1-1 on aggregate in no time at all and they’ve demonstrated their ability to overrun the opposition in midfield, not just in the early stages of the reverse fixture but also notably in their away match against Monaco earlier in the competition. They can’t feel their way into the game and consequently allow Roma to settle – that suits Roma far more than it does Leverkusen.
Roma Will Frustrate Leverkusen For As Long As They Can
The last time Roma took a lead into the second leg of a Europa League game against Real Sociedad, the dynamics were a little different in that Roma had a two-goal lead to protect but the overriding principle was to make Real Sociedad come to them. Alguacil’s men made the mistake of prioritising control over attacking threat, and as such Roma made it comfortably to halftime. Ultimately, chasing a two-goal lead proved beyond Sociedad despite their improved second-half display. Roma showed very little ambition because they didn’t need to.
As mentioned, the dynamics are a little different here in that one Leverkusen goal erases their advantage, but Roma will also be aware of the fact that Leverkusen were able to start quickly and on another night would probably have found themselves 1-0 up. Roma were probably a little too open for Mourinho’s liking, and we expect that they’ll be playing with a flat back five in the early stages in the hopes of shutting Leverkusen down. It would force Wirtz and Diaby in-field and make it far more difficult to carve Roma open.
For as long as the game is 1-0 on aggregate, we expect that Roma will only break with intent when it is safe to do so without losing their shape. They will prioritise working the ball quickly and directly to Dybala and Pellegrini to work their magic with Belotti in support. If Leverkusen score early, Roma will inevitably be forced to open up a bit and play their wing backs a bit higher up the pitch to supplement their attacking threat.
Leverkusen’s dip in form and their inability to capitalise on their dominance in the early stages of the second leg make it difficult to tip them to progress here. This is a high-stakes match between two well-balanced teams, and Roma will be coming to the BayArena with the intention of making things incredibly difficult for Alonso’s men. The ideal scenario for Roma would be to catch Leverkusen on the break, establish a 2-0 aggregate lead and then the task becomes an uphill struggle for the home side.
We’d be giving Leverkusen more of a chance had they continued their impressive post-World Cup break form, but the goals have dried up and it’s difficult to envisage them scoring more than once. There’s also the issue of how much Leverkusen have to sacrifice at the back to supplement their attack, and Roma will be buoyed by the return of Dybala to the starting XI.
Leverkusen 1-1 Roma
Leverkusen vs Roma Betting Tip – Draw Odds:
Everygame (USA and Canada) – Exclusive Sign-Up Bonuses
Everygame was the first online sportsbook to hit the world wide web and paved the way for many of the online sportsbooks we see online today. Thousands of daily live betting options. Up to $750 Sign-Up Bonus!