Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen | Wednesday 22 May | Aviva Stadium | 21:00

Welcome to Dublin the venue for the 2024 UEFA Europa League final. After nine months of thrilling action, the UEFA Europa League concludes with Atalanta taking on Bayer Leverkusen. Both clubs are out to go down into the history books, leaving an extra layer of anticipation around this intriguing encounter.

To win (90min)

Atalanta 32/10
Draw 26/10
Bayer Leverkusen 8/10


Gian Piero Gasperini’s tenure at Atalanta has been nothing short of remarkable, and the evolution of his team across different cycles is a testament to his managerial prowess and ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Each cycle has seen a significant change in personnel, with key players moving on and new faces stepping up to the plate. Yet, despite this constant turnover, Gasperini has consistently been able to put together competitive sides.

What’s truly remarkable is Gasperini’s ability to seamlessly integrate new signings and youth prospects into his system while maintaining the team’s identity and playing style. His commitment to vibrant, attacking football has become synonymous with Atalanta’s ethos, captivating fans and pundits alike with their attractive brand of football.

Atalanta made history after a convincing 3-0 win at home to Marseille, confirming the Serie A club’s spot in their first-ever European final. Although much of the media attention will be focused solely on Alonso, following his meteoric rise as one of Europe’s most sought-after head coaches, Atalanta will undoubtedly deserve just as much praise for reaching this stage of the competition.

Not only do “I Nerazzurri” play exciting, attacking football and have many fans across the continent, but they’ve also emerged as one of Italian and European football’s smartest clubs in recent years. Although Gasperini’s side may sit fifth in the Serie A league table, Atalanta have dispatched some sizable opponents this season, getting the best of Sporting in the earlier rounds of the Europa League, as well as knocking out Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the previous round of the competition.

All the focus will be on the final after the club secured Champions League football for next season and the loss to Juventus in the Coppa Italia. The loss ended their hopes of reaching a league double this season but can be a source of motivation to put up a performance worthy of being crowned champions of Europe for the first time in the club’s history.

Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen’s pursuit of an invincible treble is indeed a remarkable feat and a testament to their exceptional form and determination throughout the season. To remain unbeaten in all competitions while chasing multiple trophies is an extraordinary accomplishment and speaks volumes about the quality and resilience of the team.

Their never-say-die attitude is undoubtedly a key factor behind their success. It’s not just about talent and skill but also about the mentality and spirit within the squad. This mentality enables them to overcome obstacles, fight until the final whistle, and consistently deliver performances at a level that has caught the attention of football fans worldwide.

The Bundesliga champions continued to live up to their new nickname of “Never-lusen” following a dramatic comeback against Roma in the semi-finals of the Europa League. After going two goals down to the Serie A side, Xabi Alonso’s team turned things around with an own goal in the 82nd minute, followed by a wonderful strike from Josip Stanisic seven minutes into additional time. Not only did the goal confirm Leverkusen’s spot in the final, where they will face Atalanta, but also continued the club’s remarkable unbeaten run.

Xabi Alonso’s influence on his team cannot go unnoticed, and it’s clear that his leadership and tactical acumen have played a significant role in transforming the culture and playing style of the squad. His ability to instill a winning mentality and implement a style of play that maximizes the strengths of his players has been instrumental in their success.

The addition of Grant Xhaka to Alonso’s squad has undoubtedly bolstered their midfield and provided them with an additional dimension in terms of control and creativity. Xhaka’s ability to dictate play and link up with his teammates has had a positive ripple effect throughout the team, allowing attacking players like Jeremie Frimpong, Florian Wirtz, and Victor Boniface to flourish and showcase their true potential.

With the momentum and form they’ve displayed throughout the season, coupled with the leadership and guidance of Xabi Alonso, it’s understandable to expect nothing less than a perfect performance from his team. As they aim to achieve their goals and fulfill their potential, they have the tools and the mindset to go all the way and leave a lasting mark on the season.

Prediction: BTTS and Leverkusen win.

Facing Leverkusen in their current form will be an enormous challenge even for a creative and tactically astute team like Atalanta. Atalanta, known for their vibrant and attacking style of play under Gian Piero Gasperini, will undoubtedly put up a strong fight. However, Leverkusen’s consistency, combined with their strategic late-game interventions, may indeed prove too formidable for Atalanta to handle.

Written by Marc Strydom.