Today’s Semi-Final Europa League Fixtures & Previews

Juve aim to overcome Europa League specialists Sevilla

One of five Italian semi-finalists across the three UEFA club competitions, Calcio giants Juventus aim to overcome Europa League specialists Sevilla over two legs, starting on Thursday night in Turin.

By contrast with their visitors, Juve have never before lifted the trophy, but they are determined to salvage some silverware from a controversy-hit campaign and will seek a lead to take to Spain next week.


Juventus have adapted well to the rigours of Europe’s second-tier tournament, seeing off Sporting CP in the quarter-finals after previously overcoming Nantes and Freiburg.

Max Allegri‘s side have been typically pragmatic, and they have not conceded a single goal from open play in five Europa League games; continuing a proud tradition – they have never been beaten at home in 12 previous matches in the competition, keeping six clean sheets in the process.

After having their 15-point penalty overturned – temporarily, at least – Juve stumbled several more times, but hopes of securing a Champions League return by finishing in Italy’s top four were boosted by back-to-back wins over Lecce and Atalanta within four days last week; they now sit second in the standings.

Allegri is under short-term pressure to produce results – and never more so than on Thursday.


While their record against Juventus is not good – they have lost twice and won only one of the clubs’ four previous meetings – Sevilla have won each of their last six matches against Italian clubs in the Europa League; the most recent saw them defeat Inter in the 2020 final.

Six-time winners of the competition, the Andalucian side have endured a tough season, losing two coaches along the way, but seem to be running into form at just the right time.

Now occupying 11th place in La Liga, fears of relegation are long behind them, and in the remaining five games they will instead target a top-half finish.


While Juventus have most of their main men back in the fold following a series of injury layoffs – for instance, both Paul Pogba and Federico Chiesa are available, though not in peak condition –Mattia De Sciglio had to undergo reconstructive surgery on his right knee following an injury against Lecce.

Sevilla, meanwhile, were able to include Lucas OcamposFernando and Erik Lamela in their travelling party for the trip to Turin following fitness concerns.

However, Tanguy Nianzou and Suso – who both hope to be ready for next week’s return in Seville – are unavailable due to injury. The latter’s absence may mean a move into an advanced position for veteran midfielder Ivan Rakitic, or alternatively a return to the lineup for Ocampos.


Full of confidence from their recent exploits and scoring regularly, Sevilla can take the initiative in this semi-final tie by seizing a first-leg advantage. Juventus are a safety-first side, but they can be caught out on occasion and sometimes struggle to respond.


Roma welcome Bayer Leverkusen to Stadio Olimpico

As they seek to take one step closer to more silverware, Roma welcome Bayer Leverkusen to Stadio Olimpico on Thursday, in the first leg of the teams’ Europa League semi-final tie.

Jose Mourinho

Last year’s Europa Conference League winners will take on their German counterparts twice in seven days, with the winner progressing to the final, held in Budapest later this month.

While they may have slipped down a tier or two from their peak earlier this century, Roma are still major players on the European scene, as they reached a UEFA semi-final for the third successive season by beating Feyenoord in their quarter-final clash.


In fact, partly owing to the nous and know-how of coach Jose Mourinho, Roma have now progressed from 10 of their last 11 European knockout ties – including each of the last seven in a row.

In addition to seeing off the Eredivisie leaders, the Giallorossi have also overcome RB Salzburg and Real Sociedad to make the Europa League’s final four, having finished runners-up to Group C rivals Real Betis during the autumn.

However, Mourinho’s men have more recently gone four games without a win in Serie A, and following a 2-0 home defeat to Inter last weekend they are now five points off the all-important fourth spot with just four rounds remaining.

Mourinho may pack his bags for new surroundings this summer, if the rumour mill is to be believed, but he would love nothing more than to depart by securing more silverware. To do so, he must first overcome one of his most favoured students.


Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso was managed by Mourinho for three seasons at Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013, with only Cristiano Ronaldo playing more minutes for Los Blancos during that time.

The former midfielder has since worked his way through Madrid’s coaching setup and was then chosen to turn Leverkusen’s ailing fortunes around earlier this season – and to good effect.

Earning admiring glances from other clubs across Europe, Alonso recently guided his team through a 14-game unbeaten run in all competitions – featuring a total of 10 wins – though that streak finally came to its end last Friday, with a 2-1 reverse to Koln in the Bundesliga.

As a result, they sit sixth in the standings and are not assured of a return to continental competition for next season, but ahead of their trip to the Eternal City this week, Leverkusen remain nine without defeat away from home.


Following a damaging spell of absences through injury and ill discipline, Jose Mourinho should be able to include some integral cogs in his Roma machine on Thursday evening.

Experienced campaigners Georginio Wijnaldum and Paulo Dybala both returned to training this week, but Chris Smalling – and his deputy, Marash Kumbulla – are still absent.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz has played a part in more Europa League goals than any other player since the conclusion of the group stage (three goals; two assists) and has also created the most chances (18).

The 20-year-old stars in the visitors’ front three, which also features France winger Moussa Diaby. Either Amine Adli or Adam Hlozek should join them.

Xabi Alonso – who will be without Andre Lunev, Patrik Schick and Charles Aranguiz for the trip to Rome due to injury – is set to name a similar side to that which was beaten by Koln last time out.


These sides have faced each other on four previous occasions in Europe, with past ties bringing one win each and a total of 19 goals – an average of 4.8 per game. Given Roma’s pragmatic style under Mourinho, it is less likely to be that open on Thursday, and a low-scoring draw would see Leverkusen leaving the Olimpico content with their night’s work.



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