UEFA Europa League Preview | Atalanta v RB Leipzig (agg: 1-1)

With the tie evenly poised at 1-1, Atalanta will lock horns with RB Leipzig under the lights of Bergamo on Thursday evening.

A semi-final place is up for grabs, with both Atalanta and Leipzig confronting each other in the second round of the quarter-final draw. La Dea have experienced some topsy-turvy results lately, with Gian Piero Gasperini’s side having won only two of their last six games in all competitions.

On the other hand, Leipzig have not lost a game since getting battered by Bayern Munich in Bundesliga last February. In the first leg, the Italian side had the lead through Luis Muriel’s flashy finish.

Although the Germans got some extremely feasible chances to pull back the lead in the first half, the equaliser eventually arrived as an own goal scored by Atalanta full-back Davide Zappacosta under the pressure of Willi Orban in the 58th minute of the game. 

Prior to the equaliser, Andre Silva had got a golden chance from the spot to put his name on the scoresheet. But he missed the penalty kick, rendering a sense of regret in the camp of the Bundesliga side at the final whistle.

On Thursday, Atalanta will have the support of Bergamo behind them. Considering their league position and a growing likelihood of them missing out on a Champions League spot for the next season, the stakes are much higher for the Italian club this time.

Current Form (in all competitions):

Atalanta: W-W-L-D-L

Leipzig: W-D-W-D-W

Team News

Duvan Zapata’s return from injury is considered a massive boost to La Dea’s attacking prowess. Amid concerns over their fitness, both Remo Freuler and Berat Djimsiti have been included in the matchday squad. Marten de Roon could make a return to the line-up after serving his suspension in Serie A. Juan Musso was rested by the boss in the game against Sassuolo last weekend. The Argentine should return to Gasperini’s starting XI on Thursday.

Amadou Haidara seems to be the only long-term absentee missing the midweek’s Europa League clash. The Mali midfielder is out due to a knee injury.

Predicted XI

Atalanta (3-4-2-1): Musso; Toloi, Demiral, Palomino; Hateboer, De Roon, Koopmeiners, Zappacosta; Pessina, Malinovskyi; Zapata

Leipzig (3-5-2): Gulacsi; Klostermann, Orban, Gvardiol; Henrichs, Laimer, Kampl, Angelino; Olmo; Nkunku, Silva

In such a close contest, predicting a winner is extremely difficult. But given the experience that Atalanta and Gasperini have amassed in European competition over the recent years, it would not be a shock if they got better of the German club on Thursday.

Jyotirmoy Halder

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