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Europa League final preview: Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen

Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen


Europa League final preview: Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen

Europa League final preview: Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen

It’s been a great season for Atalanta. But the Italian side have their work cut out getting the better of Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen at Wednesday’s Europa League final.

Once dubbed “Neverkusen”, the German team have just claimed the Bundesliga title for the first time in their history. In doing so, they ended Bayern Munich’s 11-year reign as league champions.

Leverkusen are unbeaten over 51 games

Remarkably, Alonso’s side are still yet to lose a game this season, either; they’re currently unbeaten over 51 games.

Indeed, with the German Cup final taking place on Saturday, by this weekend Leverkusen could have sewn up an outstanding treble.

Yet if any side can make Xab look drab, it could be Atalanta. Earlier this season, journalist James Horncastle paid tribute to Gian Piero Gasperini as one of the most influential managers in Serie A.

Gasperini’s side are currently fifth in the Serie A league table, having won their last five league games.

The Bergamo team have impressed under Gasperini since his arrival in 2016. The only item missing from the Italian’s list of accomplishments is a trophy.

After two runner-up finishes in the Coppa Italia (the second just days ago, after the side lost 1-0 to Juventus), winning the Europa League would be their first cup under the 66-year-old.

Gasperini’s side conquered Liverpool at Anfield

Understandably, the German team are clear favourites for Europa League glory at Dublin Arena on Wednesday. But it’s not out of the question that Atalanta can scupper Alonso’s quest for the perfect season.

To get to this point, Gasperini’s side have already conquered Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield, after all.

If you think it’s a mistake to bet against a Leverkusen side on course to finish the season without losing, we can see that.

But the Italian side aren’t short of match winning potential either – particularly in the form of Gianluca Scamacca.

The 25-year-old didn’t make a huge impact in England last season with West Ham. But he has six Europa League goals this season – including a brace against Liverpool.

Scamacca could be the man to make this Cup final catch fire, and is worth backing to find the net for Atalanta at 29/10.

And while it’s hard to argue with Leverkusen’s record, Alonso’s side have drawn four of their last eight matches. These sides could be tough to separate in 90 minutes – and the draw is an 11/4 shot.

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