Source: Imago Images
Source: Imago Images

All roads lead to Rome

Football OlyBet 05.04.2024

People have fought over Rome since at least the 8th century BC. The equivalent in football is the Derby della Capitale between Lazio and Roma, considered by many football enthusiasts as one of the fiercest derbies in the world even though neither has been to the very top for quite some time.

Arne Selmosson, Aleksandar Kolarov, and Pedro (the Barcelona one) – a complete list of players who have scored for both clubs in the derby. In 2021, the latter became the first player in 36 years to cross the divide directly, moving from Roma to Lazio. While the derby is not as heated as decades ago, the animosity is still there.

Lazio was founded in 1900 while Roma was created via a merger of three clubs in 1927 to challenge the Northern clubs (Juventus, Inter, Milan); neither has quite been able to do so consistently. The ultras of Lazio are known for their political extremist right-wing views while those of Roma are more modest. The clubs could not be more different. One constantly fighting the established order, the other … a part of it, but not quite, really.

Around the turn of the century, Rome was the place to be. Lazio celebrated the double in 1999-2000 after two European triumphs (Cup Winners’ Cup and Super Cup) in 1999; between 1998 and 2000, they won a total of six trophies. Their neighbours then duly won the Serie A in 2000-01 (Roma have finished as runner-ups nine (!) times since then).

After that, however, their results have been rather indifferent. In 2013, the teams met in the Coppa Italia final; the cup has seemingly been their modus operandi this century, as Lazio have won four Coppa titles, two more than Roma. But both still see themselves as big teams.

Lazio reached the Champions League Round of 16 this season while Roma has played in European finals two years in succession (the Conference League and the Europa League). Both look to clinch a Champions League spot again and are right in the mix.

Who will win the 183th Rome Derby and which other games to enjoy over the weekend?

All times listed below are in Eastern European Summer Time (GMT+3).

Roma – Lazio

Saturday 19:00

Since sacking Jose Mourinho in January, Roma has been close to perfect under local legend Daniele De Rossi. In 15 games, they have lost just twice – a league game to Inter (2-4) and a Europa League return fixture to Brighton (0-1, after winning the first game 4-0). But they have scored just once in the last 270 minutes after massively outperforming their xG previously. Have the goals dried up?

It is back-against-the-wall stuff for Lazio, as they trail Roma by six with eight games to go. After losing four straight games (three in Serie A, one in the Champions League) and sacking Maurizio Sarri, they turned a corner by beating Frosinone (3-2) and Juventus (1-0) but lost to Juve in the Coppa (0-2). For new head coach Igor Tudor, results have to come quickly.

Borussia Dortmund – Stuttgart

Saturday 19:30

Since March, Dortmund has been absolutely perfect, dispatching Union Berlin (2-0), Werder Bremen (2-1), Eintracht Frankfurt (3-1), and Bayern Munich (2-0) in the Bundesliga. But they are still just fourth, and with a Champions League quarter-final away game against Atletico Madrid planned for midweek, need another good result to take the pressure off a little. The battle for a Champions League spot will likely be with Leipzig, who are three points away.

Unless they can pull Stuttgart into it. The 2006-07 champions have twice been to the 2. Bundesliga recently and barely survived in the last two seasons, but have been quietly excellent under Sebastian Hoeness. They have not lost in the league since January, and have been great away from home recently, winning four straight (and scoring 11 goals in those games).

Manchester United – Liverpool

Sunday 17:30

What Manchester United did on Thursday… Wow. They went 0-2 behind vs Chelsea, turned it around to lead 3-2, and lost 3-4 to goals late, late into overtime. Absolute chaos. For Erik ten Hag, this could be crucial. A loss to Liverpool could set them more than ten points away from the Champions League spots, and that will not do at United.

Liverpool played on Thursday too, controlling Sheffield United expertly to win 3-1 and regain their lead. After 30 rounds, they are two points clear of Arsenal and three of Manchester City. Should they consider a wounded, cornered United a dangerous animal? Well, this game certainly has some history. They have lost on their last three visits to Old Trafford.

The Betis Babble

OlyBet is the proud betting partner of Real Betis.

Some time off for Betis as this weekend is reserved for the Copa Del Rey final. The game between Athletic Bilbao and Real Mallorca will be quite important for Betis too, as a win for Bilbao would likely mean that the seventh team in La Liga would get a Conference League spot. Betis are currently eighth, two points off Valencia.

Not that it would mean much if things continue like this. After a 2-3 reverse to Girona last weekend, Betis has lost four straight and lost striker Chimy Avila to injury. The Argentine will probably not play again this season. The time off will be handy.


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