Preview: Roma vs Bologna – Team News, Lineups & Prediction

Champions League qualification is on the line for Roma and Bologna as they lock horns in a high-stakes Serie A encounter on Monday. The home comforts of the Stadio Olimpico give the home side the upper hand, but the visitors will fancy their chances in the Eternal City. 

Both sides received a massive boost this week as Serie A earned an extra spot in next season’s Champions League, courtesy of Italian sides’ impressive results in Europe. The new developments don’t change much for fifth-placed Roma, especially after Atalanta’s 2-1 victory at Monza on Sunday night. 

The gap is now one point, meaning Daniele De Rossi’s men need a win to fend off Gian Piero Gasperini’s sixth-placed rivals. Confidence is no longer in short supply at the Olimpico, with Roma going from strength to strength since the Italian’s appointment as the new chief of staff in mid-January.

De Rossi’s crown achievement came on Thursday as 10-man Roma dispatched Milan 2-1 in the return leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie to book a mouth-watering semi-final showdown against newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern Leverkusen. 

Speaking of splendid European nights, Bologna could soon have an opportunity to create their own memories, with Thiago Motta’s side commencing this round in fourth, four points clear of their hosts. However, their form has plunged into disarray despite a handsomely-looking four-game unbeaten league run (W2, D2).

Back-to-back 0-0 draws against 18th-placed Frosinone and mid-table Monza have left Motta fuming, especially as Bologna generated xG of at least 1.36 on both occasions. Given the circumstances, another stalemate would play into Motta’s hands. 

Match Preview


Seeing off Milan in the Europa League was a fitting reward for De Rossi’s astounding work at the Olimpico, where Roma have only lost once in their last nine clashes against Bologna (W6, D2). But neutrals, especially connoisseurs of action-packed football, have had little to cheer for in this fixture over the past three years.

Since Bologna’s 3-2 win during the Covid-plagued 2019/20 Serie A campaign, the last three meetings between Roma and Rossoblu in the capital have seen one or both sides fail to score in matches garnering under 1.5 goals. Low scoring has also been a common theme in Roma”s recent home games.

Despite winning five consecutive home matches in all competitions since overcoming Feyenoord in the Europa League, two of their last three triumphs at the Olimpico have ended 1-0. Interestingly, that same scoreline took Roma to victory twice in their three most recent home contests against Bologna.


As aforementioned, scoring the opening goal would probably determine the winner on Monday. Such has been the narrative in this fixture for years, with the last five non-draw H2Hs seeing the side to open the scoring take home three points. Bologna learned their lesson last season, as witnessed by a 2-0 home win when the two sides faced off in December.

Defensive solidity has been Bologna’s hallmark under Motta, amplifying the visitors’ hopes of curtailing Roma’s purple patch on their home ground. Moreover, since a 2-1 loss at Cagliari in their first Serie A away outing of 2023, Motta’s men have gone unbeaten on all five league travels (W3, D2), keeping a clean sheet on the last two. 

History beckons for Bologna as they could complete their first league double over Roma since 1966/67. Simultaneously, though, they face an ominous prospect of going three successive Serie A games without scoring for the first time since September. As one feat excludes the other, Motta will hope to achieve the former.

Team News

Roma’s superb win against Milan didn’t come cheap. Romelu Lukaku suffered an injury in the first half and will have to remain on the sidelines alongside long-term absentee Sardar Azmoun. Lukaku’s absence means Tammy Abraham could register his first Serie A start this term after recovering from a nasty ACL problem.

With Evan Ndicka also out after collapsing on the pitch against Udinese, De Rossi will have to choose between Chris Smalling and Diego Llorente to fill the void. The Spaniard enjoyed a sensational game against Milan and could start over the English veteran. 

As for Bologna, Motta can’t call upon Lewis Ferguson after his captain succumbed to an ACL injury against Monza last weekend, joining Adama Soumaoro and Jens Odgaard in the treatment room. On the bright side, Alexis Saelemaekers is back from suspension, offering Motta another option in the front third.

Roma vs Bologna Potential Lineups

Roma (4-3-3): Mile Svilar; Zeki Celik, Gianluca Mancini, Diego Llorente, Angelino; Bryan Cristante, Leandro Paredes, Lorenzo Pellegrini; Paulo Dybala, Tammy Abraham, Stephan El Shaarawy. 

Bologna (4-2-3-1): Lukasz Skorupski; Stefan Posch, Jhon Lucumi, Riccardo Calafiori, Victor Kristiansen; Remo Freuler; Riccardo Orsolini, Michel Aebischer, Giovanni Fabbian, Alexis Saelemaekers; Joshua Zirkzee.

Roma vs Bologna Prediction

Given what’s at stake, not to mention a low-scoring tradition in this match-up, it’s only reasonable to expect another fiercely-contested midfield battle with only a handful of chances. Both sides have thrived in such circumstances this term, but Roma seem in better shape.

Prediction: Roma

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