Borussia Monchengladbach will look to seal their first win in the UEFA Europa League this season when they lock horns with AS Roma.
Borussia Monchengladbach have been one of the most impressive teams in the Bundesliga. They have been revitalised following the managerial appointment of Marco Rose, notably securing 16 points in eight matches. As a result, they are leading the league table, a point ahead of both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
However, the Foals are yet to register a single win in this edition of the Europa League. They were stomped 4-0 by Wolfsberger AC in the opening fixture, which was followed by a disappointing draw with Istanbul Basaksehir. That means securing all three points against Roma this week is imperative if they are to have any hopes of qualifying to the next stage.
Roma, on the other hand, are leading the Group J table so far, having mustered four points from two matches. They have had a mixed start to their campaign and are coming on the back of a strenuous goalless draw with Sampdoria on the weekend. The Giallorossi are currently sixth in Serie A.
As for the Europa League, securing a win against Gladbach could help them move one step closer to achieving qualification to the knockout rounds. And in this article, we will run the rule over these two teams ahead of their matchup on Thursday.
Tactics & Team News
AS Roma manager Paulo Fonseca will have one eye on the crucial league game against Milan on the weekend. That, coupled with the injury crisis, means that we could expect the Portuguese mastermind to make a host of changes from the side that drew with Sampdoria.
Antonio Mirante will likely return in goal while the likes of Federico Fazio and Juan Jesus could replace Gianluca Mancini and Chris Smalling at the heart of Roma’s four-man backline. Davide Santon may also return, at the expense of Leonardo Spinazzola, who will shift onto the opposite flank, replacing Aleksandar Kolarov.
Key midfielder Bryan Cristante has suffered a fresh injury and has been ruled out for four months. Alessandro Florenzi is likely to deputise for him in central midfield. The Roma captain will be partnered by Jordan Veretout and Javier Pastore in Roma’s 4-3-3.
In attack, Nikola Kalinic has been ruled out for four weeks, which means Edin Dzeko is likely to lead the line for Roma tomorrow. The veteran striker might be risked, even though deploying Nicolo Zaniolo in the false nine role is also a possibility.
Dzeko, if he starts, will be supported by the wide attacking duo of Diego Perotti and Justin Kluivert, who was sent off in the draw with Sampdoria.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mirante; Santon, Fazio, Jesus, Spinazzola; Florenzi, Veretout, Pastore; Kluivert, Dzeko, Perotti
Gladbach coach Rose is also suffering from an injury crisis, with Matthias Ginter mostly notably sidelined. The injured German international will once again be deputised by Tony Jantschke, who could be partnered by the ever-present figure of Nico Elvedi at centre-back.
Stefan Lainer’s return to full fitness has served as a blessing for Gladbach. The new signing is a guaranteed starter at right-back. But, Rose is likely to give Oscar Wendt a breather, paving the way for Ramy Bensebaini to start on the opposite flank.
Florian Neuhaus could finally be reinstated in central midfield in this important encounter. The playmaker will join Denis Zakaria and Christoph Kramer in Gladbach’s 4-3-1-2 setup that will look to dominate possession. They will also be tasked with the responsibility of providing the defensive cover.
Rose will have a choice to make between Breel Embolo and Laszlo Benes in the number ten slot. We expect him to opt for the former as the Foals need additional firepower in this game. The Swiss may, however, join the offensive duo of Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea and form a free-flowing attacking unit.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Sommer; Lainer, Jantschke, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Kramer, Zakaria, Neuhaus; Embolo; Plea, Thuram
- This will be the first meeting between Roma and Gladbach in any competition.
- Gladbach have only lost one of their previous six away games against Italian opponents in European competition, with that defeat coming against Lazio in the Europa League in February 2013.
- Since losing their first-ever group stage game in the Europa League back in September 2009, Roma have gone 13 games without a defeat in the group stages of the competition.
- Gladbach have only picked up one win from their eight Europa League matches – a 4-2 victory away to Fiorentina in February 2017.
- Roma striker Edin Dzeko has scored nine goals in six starts for the club in the Europa League, including netting in their 4-0 win over Istanbul Basaksehir in their home game in the competition.
Player to Watch
Although unlikely to start, Lars Stindl made his much-awaited return from injury in the defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the last game. He featured in the last 12 minutes as a substitute and is expected to play an even bigger role in this encounter.
Stindl’s return will serve as a massive boost for the visitors. And coach Rose is likely to utilise him as a super-sub late on in the game. Should the Foals fail to breach the lines of the opposing defence, Stindl’s energy, coupled with his leadership and commitment, will surely motivate them to push forward.
Therefore, the Roma defenders will need to keep tabs on this ex-Hannover star, who is certainly capable of making a big difference tomorrow.
AS Roma 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
With both teams struggling with injuries, this could turn out to be a cat and mouse chase. We favour the Italiand given their home advantage. But, at the same time, Gladbach have done really well this season and have an excellent chance of sealing all three points against a decimated Roma side. We expect this contest to end in a 1-1 draw.