Europe: Europa League
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F. Wirtz (28), R. Andrich (73)
By Rune Gjerulff@runegjerulff

AS Roma vs. Bayer Leverkusen preview: Team news and predicted lineups

Here is our preview of Thursday's Europa League semifinals first leg clash between AS Roma and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, including predicted lineups.


For the second year in a row, AS Roma and Bayer Leverkusen will meet in the Europa League semifinals, with the Werkself looking to avenge last season's 1-0 aggregate defeat.

It wasn't just the defeat, but the manner in which Roma secured it, with the Leverkusen camp calling the Serie A outfit's style of play and attitude "disgusting" and "disgraceful".

And while Roma are a very different team under Daniele De Rossi than they were under Jose Mourinho last season, the pain of last season's defeat is lighting a fire in the belly of the Leverkusen players.

"The football has changed a little bit. But it's still about revenge. For the whole club and the whole team," Leverkusen midfielder Robert Andrich told DPA ahead of the game.

Bayer Leverkusen are enjoying a sensational season in which they have already clinched the Bundesliga title and are unbeaten after Andrich rescued a late 2-2 draw against Stuttgart at the weekend.

It was one of a number of crucial stoppage-time goals that have kept the Werkself in contention this season, and the streak has made a big impression on Roma coach Daniele De Rossi, who doesn't believe it has anything to do with luck.

"I leave luck to those who play in the casino. There is something great about this team. They have a strong coach, maybe the best in the world, excellent players and they play great football," De Rossi told TUTTOmercatoWEB.

In terms of absentees, Roma are sweating over the fitness of Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku, while Zeki Celik will miss out through suspension. Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso has a full squad to choose from.

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