Champions League 2015/16 profiles: Roma
Italian nearly-men Roma narrowly missed out on making the Champions League knockout phase last term and will be determined to put that right this season in Group E, a pool the Giallorossi are 7/1 shots with Coral to win ahead of Barcelona, BATE Borisov and Bayer Leverkusen.
Domestic League: Serie A
How they qualified: The Romans once again finished second in Serie A, pipping Stadio Olimpico rivals and housemates Lazio to the automatic spot by one point.
Best Champions League era performance: The Italians were twice runners-up in the old European Cup format before re-branding but, in the modern era, Roma have not fared as well, failing to get past the quarter-final stage. Their last attempt to squeeze into the final four came against Arsenal in 2009, when the Gunners beat the Giallorossi 7-6 on penalties.
Coach: Rudi Garcia. The Giallorossi gaffer has been in the Stadio Olimpico hotseat since 2013, guiding his Romans to two successive Serie A runners-up spots, twice losing out on the Scudetto to Juventus.
It’s paramount for the Frenchman to ensure safe passage through this pool for reputations sake as, when playing Barcelona, he will have to pit his wits against former Roma boss Luis Enrique, now a Champions League winner.
Ins and outs: It was a hectic summer for the Serie A giants, who made a quintet of canny loan deals to bring big-names Lucas Digne, Edin Dzeko, Iago Falque, Mohamed Salah and Wojciech Szczesny all to the Italian capital.
Colombian forward Victor Ibarbo and Stuttgart-owned centre back Antonio Rudiger have also been drafted in for temporary stints by the bargain-chasing Roman club.
Meanwhile, those who headed for an Eternal City exit included Adem Ljajic, Mattia Destro and Seydou Doumbia, who was shipped back to CSKA Moscow on loan after just one season.
Familiar faces: Viewers will need no introduction to Roma stalwarts and evergreen Italy internationals Daniele De Rossi and Francesco Totti. While, English football fans should be eager to see how Dzeko, Salah and Szczesny do on the peninsula alongside two more who once toiled in the Premier League, ex-Arsenal attacker Gervinho and former Manchester City man Maicon.
Key player: Vice-captain De Rossi is the heartbeat of the side and still a force to be reckoned with, especially when fellow club icon and skipper Totti is not present on the pitch. Cross the fiery midfield marshal and classy conductor at your peril.
Ones to watch: Spanish wing artist Falque was a revelation at Genoa last campaign, while fellow flank threat Salah was similarly effective for Fiorentina, so both should provide much-needed guile out wide. City-owned dangerman Dzeko, of course, gives Roma a different dimension up top.
Emerging talent: Argentine attacker Juan Iturbe boasts all the promise in the world and keeps threatening to use it, but a consistent season is required from the talented 22-year-old.
CL group and fixtures:
v Barcelona (Home), September 16th
v BATE Borisov (Away), September 29th
v Bayer Leverkusen (Away), October 20th
v Bayer Leverkusen (Home), November 4th
v Barcelona (Away), November 24th
v Bate Borisov (Home), December 9th