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The Match Pack: Feyenoord preview, form guide, stats and more

The final game of the season - and it's a huge one.

We have all the pre-match preamble you need as Roma go in search of history when they face Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final on Wednesday (kick-off: 21:00 CEST).


FEYENOORD

Final league position: 3rd
Head coach: Arne Slot
UECL top scorer: Cyriel Dessers (10)

RECENT FORM

ROMA: D W L D W
FEYENOORD: W D D W L


HOW THEY GOT HERE

The Giallorossi began their Europa Conference League adventure back in August when they picked up a 2-1 win at Trabzonspor before a 3-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico sealed an emphatic win over the eventual Turkish champions.

Having reached the group stages of the competition, Roma overcame the ignominy of a 6-1 defeat at Bodo/Glimt to top Group C before despatching Vitesse, Bodo themselves and Leicester in the knockout stages.

Feyenoord’s journey began even further back than Roma’s with the Dutch side needing a 90th-minute winner over Kosovo’s FC Drita in July to advance from the first of three qualifying rounds.

A 3-1 defeat in the last of those qualification fixtures is the sole blip on Feyenoord’s 18-game European record in 2021-22 and they overcame French side Marseille - runners-up in Ligue 1 this season - to reach the final.


TEAM NEWS

Jose Mourinho made a couple of changes on the final day of the campaign, as Roma beat Torino and secured both sixth-place and a spot in the Europa League next season.

Marash Kambulla, Eldor Shomurodov, Jordan Veretout and Nicola Zalewski all started in Turin but could all make way for Chris Smalling, Nicolo Zaniolo, Bryan Cristante and Rick Karsdorp, respectively.

Slot also switched things up as Feyenoord were beaten by FC Twente on the final day of the Eredivisie campaign, but those were largely enforced as Tyrell Malacia and Gernot Trauner missed out through injury.

Both will be hoping to return to the defence in Tirana, though, while Reiss Nelson - a former England Uunder-21 teammate of Tammy Abraham - is competing with Alireza Jahanbakhsh for a place on the right of Feyenoord’s attack.

In goal, it remains to be seen if long-time absentee Justin Bijlow is considered fit enough to supplant Ofir Marciano.

Possible Feyenoord line-up

(4-2-3-1)

Marciano; Geertruida, Trauner, Senesi, Malacia; Aursnes, Kokcu; Nelson, Til, Sinisterra; Dessers


KEY CONTEST
Tammy Abraham vs. Cyriel Dessers

With both sides needing their slices of luck and to execute a near perfect game plan to lift the trophy, it’s far too simplistic to say a European final will boil down to one individual contest.

With that said, however, goals are the game’s premium currency and you shouldn’t be surprised if one of the competition’s two top scorers this term ultimately decides the contest.

Exorted to'Tammy Tre Punti ' by the Curva Sud (a play on the phrase 'Dammi tre punti' - 'Give me the three points') , Abraham is Roma’s big game player this year and has popped up with key contributions time and again, with his Derby della Capitale and Europa Conference League semi-final heroics just two of them.

The Londoner has added a new dimension to Roma’s attack and his presence allows the Giallorossi to break at pace, while boasting a predatory front-man with the perfect foil in Zaniolo alongside him.

Dessers’ 10-goal Europa Conference League return is one better than Abraham’s and the Nigeria international is similarly his team’s focal point.

Two-footed, with a quick turn of pace and a poacher’s instinct, Dessers is plays a major role in holding up the ball and bringing his teammates into play.

MATCH STATS

On their way to the showpiece, Roma became the only side in history to have reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League.

They did so by finding the back of the net 27 times in 12 games since the start of the group stage - a return that is just one fewer from Feyenoord (28) and means these two sides are the highest-scoring teams in the competition.

They may have won the now defunct Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1961, but Roma are in search of their first major European trophy after being runners-up in the 1984 European Cup and 1991 UEFA Cup.

Meanwhile, Feyenoord won the European Cup in 1970 and the UEFA Cup in both 1974 and 2002. They could become the first team in history to lift all three of UEFA’s major men's club trophies.

Feyenoord are the only unbeaten in the tournament proper, with eight wins and four draws, but Roma won the sole previous meeting between these two by claiming a 3-2 aggregate victory in the 2014-15 UEFA Cup.

INDIVIDUAL STATS

  • Like Feyenoord, Mourinho is also in search of becoming the first person to lift a third major trophy having already won the Champions League twice and both the Europa League and UEFA Cup.
     
  • Abraham’s double against Torino means he has struck 27 goals in 52 appearances this season.
     
  • Rui Patrico has kept the most clean sheets (five) in the tournament this term.
     
  • Karsdorp and Luis Sinistera are among five players on four UECL assists this season - the most in the competition.
     
  • Dessers has scored four times in his last three UECL appearances, while Sinistera has provided three goals and an assist in his previous four European outings.

WHAT THEY SAID

"When you work in Rome, you live in Rome, you breathe Rome and you breathe this club. I felt from the day I signed that they were a huge club, but with no victories and not many finals. I'm very emotional. This, for us, is our Champions League."

- Mourinho ahead of the final 

"To reach a final you need luck at the right moments, but this group certainly has quality too. We've made people proud, but it's not over yet… We haven't won anything yet and we really want to do that."

- Slot on reaching the showpiece

 
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