Leverkusen looking to seize 'second chance' in Europa League, says Alonso

Leverkusen looking to seize 'second chance' in Europa League, says Alonso

May 1, 2024 at 7:45 PM
'Last time it hurt': Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso
'Last time it hurt': Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso. Photo: INA FASSBENDER / AFP/File
Source: AFP

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Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso said Wednesday his side want to seize "a second chance" in their Europa League semi-final tie with Roma by progressing past the side that knocked them out at the same stage of the competition last season.

"It's important for us to be back here in the semi-final, the last time hurt. Now we have a second chance against Roma," Alonso said during a pre-match press conference ahead of Thursday's first leg in Rome.

"It's football, sometimes things don't go on your side. It's a great atmosphere here and it will be an important game but not decisive."

Leverkusen and defeated finalists Roma met at the semi-final stage of the Europa League in 2023 with the Italian side winning the first leg 1-0 at home and reaching the final following a goalless second-leg draw in Germany.

"I would say that it feels like a second chance. A second chance to do better. Last time we deserved at least a goal and take it to extra time," said Alonso.

"They are a different team, they have changed a lot (since the arrival of coach Daniele De Rossi). We are expecting an intense game."

De Rossi took over the helm from Jose Mourinho in January with Roma sitting ninth in Serie A. The 2022 Europa Conference League winners are now fifth and have only lost three times across all competitions.

But Leverkusen are also a different side since last season's semi-final and, after wrapping up a maiden Bundesliga title last month, are still unbeaten this term in all competitions with an impressive 38 wins and eight draws.

"We want to take our revenge, we've all talked about it," said Leverkusen attacker Patrik Schick, who spent two years at Roma between 2017 and 2019.

AFP photo