Dublin’s Aviva Stadium plays host to the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday. We look ahead to the showpiece game with our Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen prediction and preview.

Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen Stats: The Quick Hits

  • The Opta supercomputer makes Bayer Leverkusen favourites for the UEFA Europa League final, with Xabi Alonso’s team beating Atalanta in 90 minutes in 50.2% of match simulations.
  • Six of Leverkusen’s 31 goals in the Europa League this season have been scored in the 90th minute or later – the most ever scored by a team in a single major European campaign.
  • Atalanta’s Gianluca Scamacca has six Europa League goals this season. Giuseppe Rossi in 2010-11 (10 for Villarreal) and Ciro Immobile in 2017-18 (eight for Lazio) are the only Italians to ever better that tally in a single edition.

Match Preview

One down, two to go for Bayer Leverkusen.

Saturday’s 2-1 win over Augsburg ensured Die Werkself became the first team to ever go unbeaten through a Bundesliga season, joining Arsenal (in 2003-04) and Juventus (2011-12) as the only sides to achieve the feat in Europe’s top five leagues this century. On Wednesday, they will look to complete the second leg of a potential treble as they face Atalanta in the UEFA Europa League final in Dublin.

Leverkusen have already gone one better than in the 2001-02 season, when they famously earned the moniker of ‘Neverkusen’ by finishing as runners-up in the Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and DFB-Pokal.

Things are very different now, and for that, Leverkusen have Xabi Alonso to thank. Having played for Liverpool in the 2005 and 2007 Champions League finals, he will become just the fourth person to play in and manage in a major European final this century.

Zinedine Zidane played for Real Madrid in the 2002 Champions League final (against Leverkusen) then managed them in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 editions. Antonio Conte represented Juventus in the 2003 Champions League showpiece and managed Inter in the 2020 Europa League final, while Giovanni van Bronckhorst also achieved the feat as a Barcelona player (2006 Champions League) and Rangers manager (2022 Europa League).

Alonso has masterminded one of the outstanding seasons of recent years, and Leverkusen’s next task is to cap it with two further pieces of silverware, with a DFB-Pokal final against Kaiserslautern also to come on Saturday.

Leverkusen are still unbeaten in 51 games in all competitions this season (42 wins, nine draws), with 12 of those coming in the Europa League (nine wins, three draws). Three sides have previously won the trophy unbeaten – Chelsea in 2018-19, Villarreal in 2020-21 and Eintracht Frankfurt in 2021-22.  

Victor Boniface and Robert Andrich were on target in the final game of Leverkusen’s league campaign, but Florian Wirtz has undoubtedly been their main man and was rewarded with the Bundesliga Player of the Season award on Monday.

Wirtz’s eight Europa League goal involvements this season (four goals, four assists) are the most of any Leverkusen player, while his total of 28 open-play chances created in the competition this campaign has only been bettered by five players in a single edition, most recently Amin Younes for Ajax in 2016-17 (30).

Europa League Open-Play Attacking Sequence Involvement 2023-24

Wirtz has been battling a thigh injury lately but played 30 minutes off the bench on Saturday and should return to the lineup at the Aviva Stadium, while Granit Xhaka, Piero Hincapié and Josip Stanisic should also be fresh after starting that match on the bench.

While Leverkusen won the 1988 UEFA Cup, beating Espanyol in a two-legged final, Atalanta are preparing for their first-ever European final, becoming the 11th different Italian club to reach one.

La Dea played their first European fixture back in September 1963, and their 60-year, 261-day wait between their continental debut and first final is a record for any team, though Olympiakos will eclipse it when they face Fiorentina in the UEFA Europa Conference League next week (64 years, 259 days).

Gian Piero Gasperini’s men could also become the first Italian team to win the Europa League, with previous winners only ever hailing from Spain, Portugal, England or Germany. The last Serie A side to win its predecessor, the UEFA Cup, was Parma in 1999.  

They have, however, lost all three of their major finals under Gasperini – the most recent of those defeats coming just a week ago against Juventus in the Coppa Italia (1-0). They did bounce back with a 2-0 league win at Lecce on Saturday, though. Gianluca Scamacca and Charles De Ketelaere scoring as they secured Champions League qualification for 2024-25.

Scamacca scored excellent goals against Liverpool and Marseille in the last two rounds, and he has netted six times in the Europa League overall this season. Only two Italian players have ever scored more in a single Europa League campaign – Giuseppe Rossi for Villarreal in 2010-11 (10) and Ciro Immobile for Lazio in 2017-18 (eight).

Gianluca Scamacca xG Europa League - Atalanta

Gasperini has a few selection concerns ahead of Wednesday’s final, after Marten de Roon and Emil Holm missed the Lecce game, while Sead Kolasinac is doubtful with a thigh issue.

Though Atalanta have produced some fine attacking performances, their rearguard has taken them far in this competition. On average, La Dea have only faced 2.8 shots on target per game in the 2023-24 Europa League, the fewest of any team in the competition.

Leverkusen, meanwhile, have fired off 232 shots in this season’s Europa League – the most by any team in a single edition since Chelsea in 2018-19 (247). They have also had 30 or more attempts in three different matches this term.

Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen Head-to-Head

Atalanta and Leverkusen have previously faced off twice in Europe, with the Italians winning both legs of a Europa League last-16 tie in 2021-22 (1-0 away, 3-2 at home).

Bayer have only faced Inter more often in major UEFA competitions while losing on every occasion (L3).

This will be the eighth major European final between a German team and an Italian team, but the first since Inter beat Bayern Munich 2-0 in the 2010 Champions League final.

The last such match to take place in the UEFA Cup/Europa League occurred in 1997, when Schalke beat Inter via a penalty shootout after two legs.

Recent Form

Leverkusen have won four of their last five matches across all competitions, with the exception being a 2-2 second-leg draw with Roma in the Europa League semi-finals.

Alonso’s team went 2-0 down in that game before fighting back to draw level, with Stanisic scoring a 97th-minute equaliser.

Six of their 31 Europa League goals this season have come in the 90th minute or later, the most ever scored by any team in a major European campaign.

Since losing the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie with Liverpool, Atalanta have won seven of nine games in all competitions (one draw, one loss), their only defeat coming against Juventus in the Coppa Italia final.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off on Wednesday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen Prediction

A spate of dramatic late goals has left many feeling like an unbeaten treble is written in the stars for Leverkusen, and the Opta supercomputer is siding with them here.

They are given a 50.2% chance of winning the trophy in 90 minutes, with 25.4% of match simulations going to extra-time and potentially penalties.

Atalanta, meanwhile, are given a 24.4% chance of capturing their first major trophy since the 1962-63 Coppa Italia.

Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen Prediction

Atalanta vs Bayer Leverkusen UEL Squads

Atalanta: Juan Musso, Marco Carnesecchi, Francesco Rossi, Rafael Tolói, Emil Holm, Isak Hien, Berat Gjimshiti, Mitchel Bakker, Sead Kolašinac, Giorgio Scalvini, Davide Zappacosta, Teun Koopmeiners, Mario Pašalić, Éderson, Marten de Roon, Michel Adopo, El Bilal Toure, Ademola Lookman, Charles De Ketelaere, Aleksei Miranchuk, Gianluca Scamacca.

Head Coach: Gian Piero Gasperini

Bayer Leverkusen: Lukas Hradecky, Matěj Kovář, Niklas Lomb, Josip Stanišić, Piero Hincapié, Jonathan Tah, Odilon Kossounou, Edmond Tapsoba, Arthur, Alex Grimaldo, Jeremie Frimpong, Jonas Hofmann, Robert Andrich, Florian Wirtz, Exequiel Palacio, Gustavo Puerta, Granit Xhaka, Borja Iglesias, Patrik Schick, Nathan Tella, Amine Adli, Victor Boniface, Adam Hložek.

Head Coach: Xabi Alonso

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