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Bayer Leverkusen vs Roma: Xabi Alonso using last season’s Europa League defeat as motivation to reach final

Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso says Bayer Leverkusen will use last season’s Europa League semi-final elimination to Roma as motivation as they prepare to host the Serie A side in this year’s competition.

Leverkusen lost 1-0 on aggregate the semi-finals last season but find themselves 2-0 up from last week’s first leg ahead of the clash at the BayArena on Thursday.

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Alonso’s men have enjoyed a superb season which has seen them already wrap up the Bundesliga title, while they are extraordinarily yet to taste defeat in 48 games in all competitions this term.

But despite their success, their Spanish boss admitted falling short in Europe last season is still fresh in his mind.

The 42-year-old said: “We haven’t forget [forgotten] last season, we felt it. We need to use this energy and hopeful we can celebrate at the end.

“We will put all of our focus on the full 90 minutes. We want to deserve our win and make the final in Dublin.”

Die Werkself are heavy favourites to progress to the final in Dublin but Alonso is wary of complacency against Daniele De Rossi’s men.

“A second leg is always a dangerous situation no matter the result before,” he added.

“We are preparing to play well with good motivation and at our own game. We want to be aggressive, control and defend well as a team.

“We are expecting Roma to come with the hope of qualifying.”

If they progress, Leverkusen face a final against either Atalanta or Marseille, who are tightly poised after a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

Picture of Cian Cheesbrough

Cian Cheesbrough

Cian is a sports journalist with a wealth of experience writing for national titles, including LiveScore, MailOnline, Eurosport and Sky Sports. He has covered a number of key events during his time in the industry, including from the press box at live Champions League fixtures.

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