FEATURE | Atalanta, Gasperini and the rise to the Europa League final

When both teams march out on the pitch tonight at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Atalanta fans will have their fists clasped and pray to the skies as their team go in search of their first piece of silverware since 2011. 

The Europa League mesmerizes us every season as it launches underrated sides to attain ecstatic glory. This season, it is Atalanta’s chance to embed their name in gold in the European competition’s history books. While it is set to be a tough battle against a formidable Bayer Leverkusen side in the final tonight, La Dea will hope to have their fans on their back and clinch the trophy as the underdogs. 

Fans from Bergamo were left jubilant the day when their local team were promoted to the Serie A following winning the Serie B title. It has been a long way from there, and it has been a wonderful one. Gian Piero Gasperini taught his team to dream, trained them to suffer, guided them towards growth and brought joy to the city. Atalanta have gone from being a relegation-battling outfit to one of the leading attacking charges in Europe under Gasperini. While the manager is expected to leave at the end of the season, the Europa League title will be a fitting way to mark his tenure as the golden era of the club. 

Despite losing the likes of Rasmus Hojlund, Jeremie Boga, Joakim Maehle, Merih Demiral, Matteo Pessina and Ruslan Malinovskyi, Gasperini has led the deficient Atalanta squad to qualify for the Champions League next season, which alone is a significant feat for such a club. 

On the Orobici’s road to triumph now lies Bayer Leverkusen. Xabi Alonso has rallied the Germans to achieve an unbeaten record throughout the season across all competitions as they are on a record-breaking 51 games without a defeat. The Werkself are flying high and due to their form, they are favourites in Dublin. However, Atalanta might be their Achilles’ Heel tonight. 

Will it be a historic season for Atalanta or will Leverkusen march towards the treble? Tonight, at the Aviva Stadium, destinies will be written. 


Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN

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