Roma vs Salzburg: Europa League Preview, Lineups & Prediction

Roma will be looking to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit against RB Salzburg when the two sides meet in the return leg of their Europa League knockout round playoff tie on Thursday. Left to pick up the slacks following a late defeat in Austria, the two-time competition winner Jose Mourinho is desperate to exact his revenge at the Stadio Olimpico.

Indeed, the Olimpico has been Mourinho’s safe shelter of late, with Roma most recently defeating Hellas Verona 1-0 at home on Sunday. In an otherwise woeful contest, Ola Solbakken painted his maiden Serie A start for the Giallorossi with flying colors, scoring a late first-half winner to extend his side’s incredible run against Verona to 26 unbeaten home matches.

In addition, it was Roma’s fifth victory in six home outings in 2023 (L1). Inspired by their sublime form at the Olimpico, Mourinho’s men should be confident about climbing the mountain on Thursday as they aim to cancel out Nicolas Capaldo’s 88th-minute winner from the first leg and dump Salzburg out of the competition. 

Keen to follow up their Europa Conference League triumph from last season, Roma now face a daunting task, with the perennial Austrian champions hitting the ground running after the restart. Matthias Jaisle’s side cruised to a 3-1 league triumph at Tirol last weekend, making it three competitive wins on the trot in the lead-up to this fixture. 

That bodes well as they target their first Europa League last-16 appearance since 2018/19. But despite boasting a slender first-leg advantage, Salzburg cannot take anything for granted, knowing their most recent knockout clash against Italian opposition yielded a 4-3 aggregate defeat to Napoli back in 2019.



Based on Mourinho’s football philosophy, it comes as no surprise that each of his side’s five home wins in 2023 has been accompanied by a clean sheet. Defensive resilience has provided a backbone for the Giallorossi’s superb home form, especially with the Roma attack flattering to deceive in 2023.

Three of their five home triumphs this calendar year have featured an identical 1-0 scoreline, highlighting the importance of scoring the opening goal. That would likely pave the wave for Roma’s bid to progress from a two-legged knockout tie in major European competition for the fourth time in the last seven attempts.

Player to Watch: Andrea Belotti

With Tammy Abraham increasingly likely to join Paulo Dybala on the sidelines, Mourinho may have to rely on Andrea Belotti to add to his eight-goal tally in European football. 


Salzburg’s high-flying form in February strengthens their effort to arrest Roma’s 13-game unbeaten run in home games in the knockout stages of major European competitions. Yet since beating Lazio at the Olimpico in 2009, the Austrian heavyweights have gone winless on their last five UEFA visits to Italian clubs (D2, L3). 

That said, the visitors have suffered just two defeats on hostile turf this season (W11, D2), a run that also includes a brace of 1-1 draws at Chelsea and Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League group stages. However, a thumping 4-0 defeat at Milan in November stretched Salzburg’s winless European run on the road to seven matches (D3, L4). 

Player to Watch: Nicolas Seiwald

Despite failing to score in the first leg, Nicolas Seiwald was by far Salzburg’s most eventful player at the Red Bull Arena, creating six goalscoring opportunities for his teammates. 

Team News

After picking up a knock against Verona, Abraham may not make the matchday squad. Plus, there’s still a question mark hovering over Dybala’s head.

Meanwhile, Salzburg will be without Bryan Okoh, Daouda Guindo, and Samson Tijani, though all of them were absent in the first leg. 

Roma vs Salzburg Potential Lineups

Roma (3-4-2-1): Rui Patricio; Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, Roger Ibanez; Nicola Zalewski, Bryan Cristante, Nemanja Matic, Stephan El Shaarawy; Lorenzo Pellegrini, Georginio Wijnaldum; Andrea Belotti.

Salzburg (4-3-1-2): Philipp Kohn; Amar Dedic, Strahinja Pavlovic, Oumar Solet, Andreas Ulmer; Nicolas Siewald, Maurits Kjaergaard, Lucas Gourna-Douath; Luka Sucic; Fernando, Noah Okafor. 

Roma vs Salzburg Prediction

It’s hard to back Roma to turn this tie on its head with any real conviction, but there’s no chance Mourinho will give up on this competition, regardless of a growing injury list at the Olimpico.

The Special One knows in-dept about lifting the Europa League title, so we have no other choice but to give him a vote of confidence.

Predcition: Roma Win 

Follow us on Google News for more updates on Serie A and Italian football