May 21, 2024 3:03 PM
Alex Lawes

Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen Preview & Prediction | 2023-24 UEFA Europa League

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The first of the UEFA competition finals this season takes place on Wednesday as Atalanta face Bayer Leverkusen for European silverware at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

KICK-OFF DATE/TIME: Wednesday 22nd May, 2024 - UK – 20:00 / US EST – 15:00 / US PST – 13:00

HOW TO WATCH ON TV: This match will be shown live on TNT Sports in the UK. / This match will be shown live on CBS in the US.

HOW TO WATCH ONLINE: This match can be streamed live via the TNT Sports app and also via Discovery+ in the UK. / This match can be streamed live via Paramount+, UniMas, Fubo, DirecTV Stream and ViX in the US.


It has been an utterly magnificent season for Gian Piero Gasperini and Atalanta. The Bergamasci have secured a top five spot and UEFA Champions League qualification already in Serie A, despite having a game-in-hand to play, and they also reached the final of the Coppa Italia, losing narrowly to Juventus last week after a fourth minute strike from Dusan Vlahovic.

Atalanta have enjoyed some famous nights in Europe, too, though, and quite possibly more importantly. Their 3-0 victory at Anfield against six-time European champions Liverpool in the quarter-finals was backed up by a 4-1 hammering of Marseille in the semis. Now they head to Ireland looking to spoil the Bayer Leverkusen party.


What can you say about Bayer Leverkusen other than simply listing facts and stats. Xabi Alonso’s Bundesliga champions had their first ever German league title wrapped up by mid-April and they went on to finish the 34-game season unbeaten after defeating Augsburg by two goals to one at the weekend.

The story of their European campaign has been about famous comebacks, too, with dramatic equalisers and winners against Qarabag, West Ham United and Roma on their way to this showpiece event. With second-tier Kaiserslautern to come in the DFB-Pokal final at the weekend, this could be the night Leverkusen, perhaps already there, really do enter the pantheon of football’s great sides.


Gianluca Scamacca missed the aforementioned Coppa Italia final against Juventus but the Italy international is back fit for this week. Atalanta will, though, be without key midfielder Marten de Roon, who is nursing a thigh injury.

PREDICTED XI (3-4-2-1): Musso; Djimsiti, Hien, Scalvini; Zappacosta, Koopmeiners, Ederson, Ruggeri; De Ketalaere, Lookman; Scamacca

UNAVAILABLE: Holm (Injured), De Roon (Injured)

QUESTIONABLE: Toloi (Injured), Kolasinac (Injured)


Xabi Alonso has had a couple of concerns each week throughout the campaign but the former Liverpool midfielder is blessed with his squad fully fit and available for the trip to Dublin for what is the next step on the way to history.

PREDICTED XI (3-4-2-1): Kovar; Tapsoba, Tah, Piero Hincapie; Frimpong, Andrich, Xhaka, Alex Grimaldo; Hofmann, Wirtz; Schick




  • Atalanta are through to their first UEFA competition final.
  • Atalanta are the ninth different Italian club to reach the UEFA Cup/Europa League final. The other eight teams are Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Juventus, Lazio, Napoli, Parma, Roma and Torino.
  • The nation with the most different UEFA Cup/Europa League finalists is Germany (ten), England and Italy are second with nine.
  • Atalanta are the 62nd different club to feature in a UEFA Cup/Europa League final.
  • Victory for Atalanta would see them become the first Italian team to win the UEFA Europa League (UEL era). The last Italian team to win UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League was Parma in 1998/99.
  • Atalanta have lost only one of their 12 UEFA Europa League matches this season (W7 D4).
  • Atalanta have only failed to score in two of their last 24 UEFA competition matches.
  • The only previous UEFA competition meetings between Atalanta and Leverkusen were in the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League round of 16. Atalanta won 3-2 at home and 1-0 away to record a 4-2 victory on aggregate.
  • Gian Piero Gasperini could be the first Italian coach to win the Europa League since Maurizio Sarri who did so with Chelsea in 2019.
  • Eight different Italian coaches have won the UEFA Cup/Europa League. Gian Piero Gasperini could be the ninth.
  • At the age of 66 years and 117 days on the day of the final, Gian Piero Gasperini could be the oldest coach to win the UEFA Europa League (UEL era) beating the previous record held by José Luis Mendilibar who was 62 years 78 days when he won the tournament with Sevilla last season.
  • Atalanta’s Sead Kolašinac and Leverkusen’s Granit Xhaka both played the full match in the 2019 Europa League final for Arsenal in a 4-1 defeat against Chelsea, Davide Zappacosta entered the field late in the same game as a substitute for Chelsea.
  • Leverkusen are through to their second UEFA Cup/Europa League final. They won the 1988 UEFA Cup final on penalties against Espanyol after the two-legged tie finished 3-3 on aggregate with both teams winning their home leg by three goals to nil.
  • Overall, this is Leverkusen’s third European final having also reached the Champions League final in 2002 where they lost against Real Madrid.
  • Leverkusen are unbeaten in their last 13 Europa League matches (W9 D4). Their record this season is W9 D3. In 2018/19 Chelsea became the first Europa League winners to go through the season undefeated (W12 D3). Villarreal emulated that feat in 2020/21 (W11 D3), as did Eintracht in 2021/22 (W7 D6). Leverkusen can add to that list if they lift the trophy.
  • Leverkusen have scored later than the 88th minute in five of their six knockout matches in the Europa League this season.
  • Leverkusen have played 141 matches in UEFA Cup/Europa League history, including qualifying. This is more than any other German club.
  • Leverkusen are aiming to be the second German club to win the Europa League in the last three seasons following Eintracht Frankfurt’s success in 2022.
  • Leverkusen are the top scorers in the Europa League this season with 31 goals. Their highest total in a single season in UEFA competition is 32 (2001/02).
  • Leverkusen’s total of nine matches won in European competition this season is their joint-highest tally in a single season. They also won nine in the 2001/02 campaign.


In 51 matches across all competitions so far this season, Bayer Leverkusen have managed 42 victories with just nine draws and they have scored 143 goals in the process. It is so nearly the perfect season and they can add two trophies to their Bundesliga title by the end of the week. Atalanta have also enjoyed their own remarkable campaign but Gian Piero Gasperini’s men have begun to look quite tired, naturally, and a Leverkusen team that just does not know when they are beaten is perhaps not the ideal opposition to face. Atalanta’s season should be remembered but the similarities with Fiorentina being runners’ up in both the cup and a European final last season appear likely to continue. Leverkusen to win inside the match inside the 90 minutes is the bet for this one.


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