Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen: Preview and Prediction

Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen will compete in the UEFA Europa League final at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday.

The 2023/24 season is on its last legs, with an action-packed campaign winding down in the coming days. The curtains will fall on this term’s thrilling UEFA Europa League as Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen lock horns in the final at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday night.

Atalanta reached the UEFA Europa League final after overcoming Marseille in the semi-finals. La Dea finished atop Group D before overcoming Sporting CP and Liverpool in the first two knockout phases. In addition, they are on the cusp of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League through their finishing position in Serie A, with sixth-placed AS Roma three points behind them.

On the other hand, Bayer Leverkusen overcame AS Roma to reach this season’s UEFA Europa League final. Die Werkself clinched the top spot in Group H before getting past Qarabag FK and West Ham United in the first two knockout stages. Meanwhile, Xabi Alonso’s men are yet to lose a game this season, going unbeaten throughout their triumphant Bundesliga campaign while reaching the DFB Pokal final.

Both previous clashes thus far between Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen have ended in La Dea’s favour, with those meetings coming in the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League Round of 16. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics


Gian Piero Gasperini has a few pressing injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the UEFA Europa League final. Against Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday, the Atalanta manager might be without three first-team players.

Marten de Roon is the most notable absentee for Atalanta, with the Dutchman recovering from a leg issue. In addition, Sead Kolasinac has played his final game of the 2023/24 season, with a muscle injury keeping him on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Gasperini is sweating over the fitness of Emil Holm (calf).

Juan Musso will take his spot between the sticks, with Atalanta lining up in a 3-4-2-1 formation in front of him against Bayer Leverkusen. The central defensive unit should feature Berat Djimsiti, Isak Hien, and Giorgio Scalvini. Meanwhile, Davide Zappacosta and Matteo Ruggeri will likely start as the two wing-backs.

The wing-back duo will aim to make an impact on both ends of the pitch. As for the midfield unit, there is no looking past Mario Pasalic and Ederson. Finally, Gianluca Scamacca will spearhead the Atalanta attack, with Charles De Ketelaere and Teun Koopmeiners supporting him from the central, advanced positions.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Musso; Djimsiti, Hien, Scalvini; Zappacosta, Pasalic, Ederson, Ruggeri; Koopmeiners, De Ketelaere; Scamacca

Bayer Leverkusen

Unlike his counterpart in the Atalanta dugout, Xabi Alonso does not have any issues to deal with ahead of the trip to the Aviva Stadium. The Bayer Leverkusen manager has a full-strength squad at his disposal this midweek.

Matej Kovar has played instead of Lukas Hradecky for much of Bayer Leverkusen’s UEFA Europa League campaign and should get the nod ahead of the club captain against Atalanta. Die Werkself will line up in a 3-4-2-1 formation in front of Kovar.

The central defensive unit should feature Edmond Tapsoba, Jonathan Tah, and Piero Hincapie. Jeremie Frimpong and Alejandro Grimaldo will be the two wing-backs, with the duo providing the creative impetus for Bayer Leverkusen. Their goalscoring prowess should also shine.

Robert Andrich has improved with every passing month and should pip Exequiel Palacios and Granit Xhaka’s central midfield partner. Finally, Patrik Schick will likely lead the line for Bayer Leverkusen against Atalanta, with Florian Wirtz and Jonas Hofmann completing the numbers in the attack.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Kovar; Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie; Frimpong, Xhaka, Andrich, Grimaldo; Hofmann, Wirtz; Schick

Key Stats

  • Bayer Leverkusen have faced Atalanta twice in European competition, with the Italian outfit winning both legs in the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League Round of 16. The Bundesliga champions have only faced Inter Milan more often while losing every game in major European competition (three defeats in three games).
  • Wednesday’s match is the eighth major European final between a German team and an Italian side and the first since the 2010 UEFA Champions League final, which Inter Milan won 2-0 against Bayern Munich. In the UEFA Cup/Europa League, this is the first instance since 1997 when FC Schalke 04 were crowned champions over two legs against Inter via a penalty shootout.
  • Bayer Leverkusen are unbeaten in all 12 UEFA Europa League games this season (W9 D3) and are looking to become the fourth side to win the trophy unbeaten, along with Chelsea in 2018/19, Villarreal in 2020/21 and Eintracht Frankfurt in 2021/22, the latter two of which did so in a penalty shootout in the final. On the other hand, Atalanta can become the first Italian club to win the Europa League.
  • Atalanta have only faced 2.8 shots on target per game in the UEFA Europa League this season, the lowest ratio of any side in the competition this term. On the other hand, Bayer Leverkusen have averaged 7.2 shots on target per game in 2023/24.
  • Gianluca Scamacca has found the back of the net six times in the UEFA Europa League goals this season. Only two Italian players have scored more goals in a single campaign: Giuseppe Rossi in 2010/11 for Villarreal (10) and Ciro Immobile in 2017/18 for Lazio (8).

Player to Watch

Florian Wirtz

Embed from Getty Images

Fresh from winning the Bundesliga Player of the Year award, Wirtz is on cloud nine. The German international has bounced back from his injury layoffs to become a talismanic figure for Bayer Leverkusen. In addition, his numbers are staggering.

Wirtz has been involved in eight goals in the UEFA Europa League this season (four goals, four assists), the most of any Bayer Leverkusen player. He has created 28 chances in open play, a tally only five players have bettered in a Europa League campaign. Should the youngster add to these on Wednesday, Bayer Leverkusen will be in contention to go all the way.


Atalanta 2-3 Bayer Leverkusen (After Extra Time)

Both teams are vying for their first European crown and will be raring to end their duck on Wednesday. Fortunately for the neutrals and everyone who will tune in to watch the UEFA Europa League final, Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen are two of the most eye-catching sides in the world.

So, Wednesday’s clash should be an engrossing affair, especially with both teams also displaying vulnerabilities at the back. An end-to-end match beckons us, with Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen stretching the Europa League final to 120 minutes.

However, the new “mentality monsters” of European football should have enough quality to eke out a narrow win. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-2 victory for Xabi Alonso and his charges, taking them a step closer to going the entire 2023/24 campaign without a defeat.

Leave Comment


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.