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Atalanta face Leverkusen in Dublin

UEL final preview

2024/05/22 17:08
E4

This evening presents the first European final of three to finish off the club season as Atalanta face Bayer Leverkusen at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin to win the UEFA Europa League.

Both teams have enjoyed magnificent campaigns but only one side will be able to walk off into the summer with European glory. Ahead of the final, this is our breakdown and preview of the two sides and what to potentially expect this week before next week’s UEFA Europa Conference League between Fiorentina and Olympiakos in Athens as well as Borussia Dortmund facing Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final in London.


ATALANTA

Manager: Gian Piero Gasperini (ITA)

League position: 5th in Serie A

Trophies won: 1 (1962/63 Coppa Italia)

Since Gian Piero Gasperini was appointed Atalanta manager all the way back in 2016, he has managed to create a side that has relentlessly punched above its weight with a fun and free style of football that has actually gone through three or four different era’s in terms of personnel but one man, Gasperini, has remained the same and remained at the heart of the Bergamasci’s rise and ride as they seek a first trophy in over 60 years.

La Dea have enjoyed an extremely impressive season so far, already achieving UEFA Champions League qualification from Serie A with a fifth placed finish. They also reached the final of the Coppa Italia but suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to the Old Lady last week via a fourth minute strike from Dusan Vlahovic. Their run to Dublin has seen them enjoy some famous nights, none more so than defeating Liverpool by three goals to nil at Anfield in the quarter-finals. 

@Getty /

Run to Dublin

Groups | 2-0 W vs Rakow Czestochowa (H)

Groups | 2-1 W vs Sporting CP (A)

Groups | 2-2 D vs Sturm Graz (A)

Groups | 1-0 W vs Sturm Graz (H)

Groups | 1-1 D vs Sporting CP (H)

Groups | 4-0 W vs Rakow Czestochowa (A)

R16 | 1-1 D vs Sporting CP (A)

R16 | 2-1 W vs Sporting CP (H)

QF | 3-0 W vs Liverpool (A)

QF | 0-1 L vs Liverpool (H)

SF | 1-1 D vs Olympique de Marseille (A)

SF | 3-0 W vs Olympique de Marseille (H)


BAYER LEVERKUSEN

Manager: Xabi Alonso (ESP)

League position: Winners of the Bundesliga

Trophies won: 3 (1987/88 UEFA Cup, 1992/93 DFB-Pokal, 2023/24 Bundesliga)

@Getty /

What can you say about Xabi? The former Spain legend won everything in the game as a player and could well dominate the game as a manager. From leading Real Sociedad B into the second-tier in Spain for the first time ever in his first job, he has taken over a side known as ‘Neverkusen’ for their propensity to always mess things up and he has delivered them their first Bundesliga title in extraordinary fashion, winning the league with a unbeaten season.

Their 51-match unbeaten run of form across all competitions in this campaign is already the longest ever since the introduction of UEFA competitions. They are on course for a treble if they defeat Atalanta this week and then get past second-tier Kaiserslautern at the weekend in the DFB-Pokal final. That would mean three of their five trophies in their history would have been won this season and they’d have done so by scoring nearly 150 goals and not losing a single match. 

Run to Dublin

Groups | 4-0 W vs Hacken (H)

Groups | 2-1 W vs Molde (A)

Groups | 5-1 W vs Qarabag (H)

Groups | 1-0 W vs Qarabag (A)

Groups | 2-0 W vs Hacken (A)

Groups | 5-1 W vs Molde (H)

R16 | 2-2 D vs Qarabag (A)

R16 | 3-2 W vs Qarabag (H)

QF | 2-0 W vs West Ham United (H)

QF | 1-1 D vs West Ham United (A)

SF | 2-0 W vs Roma (A)

SF | 2-2 D vs Roma (H)


Playmaker prediction:

It has the potential to be an absolute thriller in Dublin this evening. The two teams playing the same system and both intent on attacking with intensity could mean they provide a lot of goals but, worryingly, could also bring the possibility of themselves cancelling each other out. As good as Atalanta have been, they have begun to look a little fatigued and Bayer Leverkusen, with their ridiculous amount of late goals, are anything but; perpetually stuck in fifth or sixth gear. Atalanta could produce a fairytale but Leverkusen, marching towards an unbeaten treble and genuine football history, will likely come out on top. 



Comments

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SP
2024-05-22 18h08m by sparkerfield
As a football fan, I am absolutely buzzing for this Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen final tonight! Both teams have had incredible seasons and I can't wait to see who comes out on top and lifts the UEFA Europa League trophy. It's going to be an intense battle and I'm expecting some top-quality football. Can't wait for next week's finals too - the Europa Conference League and Champions League finals are going to be epic!
2024-05-22 17h38m by edavidson
As a football fan reading this article on Twitter, I think the Disillusionment tone is evident. It's disappointing that only one team can come out on top and win the UEFA Europa League, especially considering both Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen have had great seasons. But, I'm also excited to see who will ultimately lift the trophy and continue their European success. Can't wait for this week's final and next week's matches!
2024-05-22 17h28m by jgibsonson
As a football fan, it's disappointing to see such a highly anticipated final being played without any fans in the stadium. The atmosphere that fans bring to a match is irreplaceable and it's a shame that it won't be present in tonight's game. Regardless, both Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen have had impressive seasons and it's sure to be a thrilling match. Can't wait to see who comes out on top and lifts the Europa League trophy!

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