In a match that was surely a must win for Roma if they wanted any hope of advancing out of the group stages this season, a point highlighted by Rudi Garcia in his pre match press conference, Mister Garcia fielded his tried and true 4-3-3 that featured the inclusion of Vasilis Torosidis at right back, pushing Alessandro Florenzi further up the pitch as a winger.
Rudi's rotating attack also included Mohamed Salah and Roma's very own Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Gervinho, while Edin Džeko was left the bench. In net, Wojciech Szczęsny would look to put his last performance against BATE behind him and command a defense of Torosidis, Kostas Manolas, Antonio Rüdiger, and Lucas Digne. The midfield trio is one that should be very familiar to you by now with Daniele De Rossi anchoring the field, surrounded by Miralem Pjanić and Radja Nainggolan.
The match got underway to the Hungarian Viktor Kassai's whistle on what was a fairly brisk night at the BayArena. Bayer forced first chance of the game less than a minute in, working the left byline, with a deflected shot that found the head of Chicharito who sent it well over the bar. But less than two minutes later the Hungarian would point to the spot after a Torosidis handball. This time Chicharito would put it away from the spot and give Bayer a one goal lead only three minutes into the match.
Roma would find their first real chance fifteen minutes on when Radja would make a good tackle to win possession, Salah would eventually cut the ball back to Pjanic whose shot would be easily parried away by the keeper.
Not content with gifting the home side the opening goal, Digne would lose the ball, and a few quick passes later, Rudiger, standing around with his hand in the air, watched as his keeper made a great save. Chicharito capitalized on the second try with his second of the night, giving the home side a two goal advantage with less the twenty minutes gone.
Roma did very little in way of possession and looked in dire straits for much of the much, a fact made worse when Radja found his way into the Hungarian's book for a dive on the edge of the area. With Roma still not finding much in the way of attack, DDR would cut the lead in half from a Pjanic corner kick, with a half an hour played; just what the doctor ordered.
Chicharito would have a glorious chance at a hat trick, but his header went bouncing over the woodwork. Not content with just one goal today, DDR would again latch onto a Pjanic free kick and redirect it home to tie the game up.
That would be all she wrote for the first half with the game tied 2-2. All told I don't think either side was too impressed with their defending or team play in the first half .
With Roma looking to grow on the momentum they gained towards the end of the first half, they again found themselves with a chance from a set piece, missing a near own goal as the keeper pushed a glancing header over the bar. Gervinho would had next chance on the counter, but after all the hard work was done, he just couldn't finish.
Following that Radja would win a free kick off the rebound, right in Pjanic's range. Since set piece goals are becoming quite regular from our little prince, it was a safe bet. Pjanic's beauty gave Roma a 3-2 lead just shy of the hour mark.
Iago Falque, Rudi's first substitution on the day pushed Roma's lead to 4-2 in the 73rd minute, which, unfortunately would not be enough. Thanks to some questionable substitutions and general miscues, Bayer was able to claw their way back into the match, scoring two goals after the 80th minute to leave Roma bewildered and bottom of Group E.