Europa League preview and betting tips: History suggests Roma will qualify

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AS Roma have a slender lead to protect against Bayer Leverkusen, but football tipster Sergiu Baltuta thinks Jose Mourinho's tactics could guide his side through.

Key stats

Roma have lost 12 of their last 15 European games played on German soil, winning two and drawing the other. Leverkusen only qualified once on the last 11 occasions in which they lost the first leg. The exception was this season against Monaco. Roma have qualified in 23 of the 25 two-legged European ties in which they've won the first leg. In 2007, they led Man Utd 2-1 but lost 7-1 at Old Trafford.

Suggested bets

Under 2.5 goals in the match AS Roma to qualify (inc. extra time and penalties)

Bayer Leverkusen vs Roma verdict

The tie is still finely poised and it will be a defining game for both of these teams' seasons since winning the Europa League is now their only qualification route for next season's Champions League. It seems unlikely that Leverkusen, who have suffered a decline in form lately, will manage to overturn the result in the first leg. Jose Mourinho is a master at limiting opponents and his Roma side should be able to do that. But it's still a difficult situation and a new scenario for Roma. Before the semi-finals, the Wolves played the first leg away in each round and lost 1-0. They managed to overturn the deficit at home, which required a different approach to this week's match. Looking back to when Bayer Leverkusen progressed in the previous round, Die Werkself were on an unbeaten run of 14 games. That started with cancelling Monaco's first-leg lead before winning on penalties. The last game from that unbeaten streak was a 0-0 draw away to Union Berlin, which now looks like the start of a poor run of form for Xabi Alonso's team.

That result put an end to Leverkusen's top-four chances this season and they followed it up with a derby day defeat against Koln and then Roma in the first leg. Last weekend, Bayer drew with Stuttgart. It's fair to say we should take their league form with a pinch of salt though, as Leverkusen do seem to focus exclusively on the Europa League. They currently sit 7th in the German Bundesliga with two games remaining. If they can't leapfrog Wolfsburg into sixth place, and Leipzig doesn't win the DFB-Pokal final, then they could even miss out on the Europa Conference League. Suggested bet: AS Roma to qualify AS Roma aren't in the best form themselves. Like Leverkusen, they're betting the house on winning the Europa League this season. The Giallorossi's recent results in Serie A lately have been disappointing as they are without a win in five matches. Their last two came in the Europa League, beating Monaco and Feyenoord earlier in the competition. A tough run of fixtures has ended Roma's top-four hopes. They suffered defeats against Atalanta and Inter, whilst drawing against Milan, Monza and Bologna. They are 6 points behind the team in fourth, their arch-rivals Lazio, with three games remaining Suggested bet: Under 2.5 goals in the match It's worth noting that Bayer Leverkusen are without a win in their last four matches against Roma. Their last and only win against the Italian side was in October 2004, a 3-1 triumph in the Champions League group stage. The last meeting between the teams in Leverkusen produced a Champions League classic. Javier Hernandez, Danielle de Rossi and Miralem Pjanic were among the scorers in a 4-4 draw. Bayer led 2-0 but trailed 4-2 with six minutes remaining. Sergiu Baltuta provides football tips as SVB Tips on Tipstrr

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