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Three reasons why Europa League is can’t-miss drama: Jurgen Klopp’s last ride, Christian Pulisic with Milan

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If you’re still amazed by the non-stop action of the first leg of the Champions League’s quarterfinals where matches between Real Madrid and Manchester City and Arsenal and Bayern Munich left everybody breathless, you shouldn’t be too sad because there is much more to watch this week. On Thursday, Europa League action is back and it promises to be a wild ride (you can catch coverage across Paramount+, CBS Sports Network, and CBS Sports Golazo Network). This season, in particular, this is an exciting tournament that sees some of the best teams around Europa playing against each other. Daniele De Rossi’s AS Roma will face United States men’s national team star Christian Pulisic and AC Milan at San Siro, while Atalanta will visit Liverpool and Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen will host West Ham. On top of these three exciting clashes, Benfica will host Olympique Marseille in Lisbon in a tie capable of producing a ton of goals. Let’s take a look at the things you need to watch and why Europa League is the drama you can’t miss. 


Thursday, April 11
Liverpool vs. Atalanta, 3 p.m. (Paramount+)
Benfica vs. Marseille, 3 p.m. (Paramount+)
Milan vs. Roma, 3 p.m. (Paramount+)
Leverkusen vs. West Ham, 3 p.m. (Paramount+)

The Italian derby 

AC Milan will host AS Roma for the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals in an exciting clash between two Serie A teams. De Rossi has totally revived the team that struggled under Jose Mourinho in the first part of the season and has only lost once (against Inter) in his first eleven Serie A games at the club (eight wins, two draws) and last weekend also won 1-0 in his first Derby della Capitale as manager against Lazio. On the other side, Stefano Pioli was able to turn things around and AC Milan are in great form as they’ve won their last five Serie A games for the first time since he’s been in charge at the club. After a disappointing first part of the season, the Rossoneri are now in a solid second position and have the chance to win a major trophy if they beat AS Roma in the quarterfinals. Additionally, Pulisic scored his 13th goal of the season last weekend against Lecce and became the second US international with ten league goals in a season in the top four European leagues after Clint Dempsey who did it twice during the 2011-12 season (17 goals) and during the 2010-11 season (12 goals). It’s just another example of the great impact that the former Chelsea player has had so far at AC Milan.

Klopp’s last dance

Moving to England, Liverpool will host Atalanta on Thursday for the first leg of another exciting matchup as German coach Jurgen Klopp is entering the last part of his career at Liverpool since he announced he will leave the club at the end of the current season. While Liverpool are in the race to win the English Premier League in an incredible race that also sees Arsenal and Manchester City involved until the very end. On the other hand, Liverpool have the chance to win another European major trophy under Klopp and have a great opportunity if they beat Atalanta in the quarterfinals. The cycle of the German manager at Liverpool was one of the most successful in the history of the club regardless of what happens between now and the next two months, but if this team is able to win another trophy it will definitely make the farewell much more special for the fans but in particular for Klopp himself. 

The team of the season 

Last but not least, Bayer Leverkusen, the team of the season. Xabi Alonso’s side are on the verge of winning their first-ever Bundesliga title and at the same time they are in the race to win both the DFB Pokal as they will face Kaiserslautern in the final on May 25 and they are facing West Ham in the quarterfinal. Xabi Alonso announced he will stay at the club next season despite the interest coming from Bayern Munich and Liverpool. His side is still unbeaten this season in all competitions. When Leverkusen ran out 2-1 winners over Mainz on Bundesliga Matchday 23 to make it 33 games unbeaten, the Bundesliga leaders surpassed Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich team of 2020-2021 in the record books for the longest run without defeat by a German side in all competitions. On top of that, they are the only team across Europe’s top five leagues, per UEFA coefficient, yet to taste defeat in 2023-24, while their points and goals tallies (76 and 69, respectively) are club records at this stage of a league season.

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