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The Europa League semifinal at the Stadio Olimpico Thursday brings with a reunion between Jose Mourinho and one of his former charges as Xabi Alonso brings his Bayer Leverkusen side to the Eternal City. Roma boss Mourinho managed Alonso at Real Madrid and some of his qualities (as well as those of so many other elite coaches) have clearly rubbed off on the Spaniard, who has enjoyed an impressive start to life in top level coaching with Leverkusen.

Indeed some statistical models make Leverkusen favorites to win this tournament outright after their victories over Monaco, Ferencvaros and Union Saint-Gilloise. Roma, meanwhile, have come through what is perhaps an even tougher draw, beating Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg, a tough Real Sociedad side and Dutch league leaders Feyenoord on their way to the last four. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:

Viewing information

  • Date: Thursday, May 11 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
  • Location: Stadio Olimpico -- Rome
  • Live stream: Paramount+
  • Odds: Roma +105; Draw: +240; Bayer Leverkusen +260 (via Caesars Sportsbook)


Roma: Mourinho's men could scarcely have picked a worse moment to go off the boil, but since crushing Feyenoord to reach the final four, Roma have won none, drawn two and lost two. Defeat to Inter Milan leaves the Giallorossi three places and five points off Champions League qualification, it may well be that their best chance of getting back to the big time now lies with winning this competition.

That will be harder to do without the talismanic Paulo Dybala, though it appears the Argentine is winning his race to recover from an ankle issue that has sidelined him since mid-April. Georginio Wijnaldum, who has been able to start just nine games in an injury-plagued season, took part in training alongside Dybala and could come into contention.

Bayer Leverkusen: Even taking into account Friday's loss to local rivals Koln, there are no such form worries for Leverkusen, who had been undefeated in 14 games prior to that Bundesliga defeat. That game did ultimately end what faint hopes Alonso might have had of a top-four finish in the German top flight but rising from the relegation zone to sixth is no small achievement. Crucial to their form of late has been the return from injury of Florian Wirtz in January, the 20-year-old having registered four goals and eight assists in 20 appearances. For a player who only just returned from a cruciate ligament rupture, it is remarkable how quickly he has not just reached but exceeded his previous high water mark.

"I think I am at the level I was at before, in some areas, maybe even playing a little better," he told CBS Sports in an exclusive interview alongside teammate Jeremie Frimpong. "That was always the goal from the beginning of recovery — to get the best out of the rehab and be as ready as possible."

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Mourinho may well be able to slow Leverkusen's dangerous attack with home-field advantage and as such this could be a tie that remains eminently up in the air going into the second leg. PICK: Roma 1, Leverkusen 1