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Roma hope to save season with Europa League title

18 March 2015, 12:43

Milan— At least one Italian team will reach the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday, with Roma hosting Fiorentina and looking for a distraction from its domestic woes.

Roma had started the year battling with Juventus for the Serie A title but has fallen 14 points behind the defending champions after losing to Sampdoria 2-0.

A crucial away goal in a 1-1 draw in Florence in the Europa League gives Roma a slender advantage in the second leg, but Fiorentina has already defeated Roma in a knockout competition in the capital this season — 2-0 in the Italian Cup quarterfinals.

Inter Milan, Torino and Napoli are the other Italian teams in the competition, with the latter the only Serie A team to win its first leg — 3-1 over Dynamo Moscow.

Here are some things to know about Thursday's matches in the Europa League:


Andre Schuerrle arrived in Wolfsburg as a World Cup winner and the most expensive signing in the club's history at an estimated 32 million euros ($34 million). So far, he's been largely a flop.

Also read: Roma stadium construction to start by end of year

The German forward had a promising start with two assists in his first match after leaving Chelsea, but since then, his form has been dipping.

Schuerrle was pulled at halftime in the 3-1 win over Inter in the home leg, with Wolfsburg's game improving after his departure.

Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking said he is behind Schuerrle and is calling for patience, saying "it will come." But Schuerrle got to play only in the last few minutes in Sunday's 3-0 win over Freiburg.

Many are recalling the difficult time Kevin de Bruyne had after arriving in Wolfsburg, also from Chelsea. Now, he is one of the league's most valuable players, with nine goals and 17 assists.


Defending champion Sevilla will be looking to carry its Spanish league momentum into the match with Villarreal after beating Elche 3-0 on Sunday.

Sevilla, which has a 3-1 advantage from the first leg against Villarreal, is fifth in the Spanish league, one place above Villarreal.

Sevilla has won 10 and lost none of the 14 league games it has played at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium this season.

"When you're winning games you can correct any errors you make in your game with more willingness and confidence," said Sevilla forward Carlos Bacca, who has scored 40 goals for the team since joining in 2013. "It is important to make yourself strong at home, where you make others respect you."

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- AP

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