Two of the favourites for the UEFA Europa League crown clash on Thursday evening as Sevilla and AS Roma travel to Germany and the MSV-Arena to play their one-legged last-16 tie.
A clash with either Wolverhampton Wanderers or Olympiacos is in prospect for the victors and considering the history of the two, it would be somewhat difficult to see past the Spanish outfit. Julen Lopetegui’s troops have lifted the Europa League crown on five occasions throughout their history, earning the esteemed title of the most successful club in the competition. Meanwhile, the Giallorossi have never tasted glory, only reaching the final once in the 1990/91 campaign where they were beaten by Serie A rivals Inter Milan.
Consequently, Sevilla are more fancied to win the competition this season at a price of 15/2 with Betfair, whilst Roma can be backed at 16/1.
Before either side think about winning the competition though, they have to get past each other in what looks set to be a really competitive match due to each team’s respective form. The Spaniards are currently in the midst of a 17-match unbeaten run that has seen them finish fourth in La Liga. Roma are too enjoying an extended run without a loss having gone eight matches unbeaten, the last of which was an eye-catching 3-1 victory against Juventus away from home. Despite that, Paulo Fonseca’s men are somewhat ‘underdogs’ at a price of 6/5 with Paddy Power, whilst Sevilla are available at 12/5. A draw at the end of 90 minutes can be backed at 11/5.
One aspect that supporters could expect during the match are goals. Only Inter Milan, Atalanta and Lazio netted more than Roma in Serie A this season, while just Real Sociedad, Barcelona and Barcelona netted more than Sevilla in Spain.
The two teams also boast supremely talented attacking players. Edin Dzeko has scored 19 goals this season and is the favourite to net the opening goal of the match at 5/1 with William Hill. Munir has also been in tremendous form this season, netting five goals in the Europa League alone. He can be backed at 11/2 to open the scoring.
Despite the attacking talents on both teams, they have also been dealt significant blows with the late scheduling of the tournament. Sevilla have lost Ever Banega and Sergio Reguilon following the expiry of their loan deals. Tomas Vaclick also remains a huge doubt for the Spanish outfit having missed the last four matches of the domestic season, with Yassine Bounou continuing to deputise between the sticks. Midfielder Fernando is is likely to be on the sidelines, as is Nemanja Gudelj as he remains in quarantine from coronavirus.
Roma have also lost central defender Chris Smalling after he returned to Manchester United. Elsewhere, central-midfielder Jordan Veretout is out through suspension and joins Lorenzo Pellegrini and Antonio Mirante on the sidelines.