Sunday, June 16, 2024

Atalanta 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen: What Were The Main Talking Points As La Dea Are Crowned Europa League Champions In Dublin?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Europa League 23 May 2024

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With all eyes falling on Dublin on Wednesday night, Atalanta sprung a famous upset at the Aviva Stadium as they were crowned Europa League champions thanks to a remarkable 3-0 romp against Bayer Leverkusen.

While the German record-breakers might have travelled to Dublin in the midst of an iconic 51-match unbeaten run across all competitions, Xabi Alonso’s men failed to find any kind of fluidity.

With Ademola Lookman tapping home at the back post after just 12 minutes, it was the one-time Everton star who certainly stole all of Wednesday’s headlines.

Doubling La Dea’s lead midway through the first-half thanks to a stunning solo effort from the edge of the box, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men didn’t show any signs of sitting back after returning from the interval.

With Leverkusen unable to live with Atalanta’s extreme intensity, Lookman eventually wrapped up an iconic Europa League final hat-trick in the final 15 minutes as he powered past a helpless Matej Kovar.

Although Leverkusen might have gained a reputation this season for their astonishing late comebacks, the Bundesliga champions could not fashion another this time.

On a night when Atalanta were crowned European champions for a maiden time, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Dublin.

Atalanta crowned Europa League champions

Although Atalanta might have opened the New Year in the midst of a real wobble, La Dea have come roaring back in an astonishing fashion and were certainly a more than worthy winner on Wednesday night.

Despite being tipped as a real underdog when they arrived in Dublin, Gasperini’s men wrote themselves into the Europa League history books and made what was an iconic statement in the Irish capital.

Making a major Europa League statement back on April as they stormed their way to a 3-1 aggregate victory against English giants Liverpool, the Bergamo-based outfit have enjoyed a remarkable fairytale.

Blowing a record-breaking Leverkusen out of the water here, Atalanta didn’t have to get out of third gear as they became the first Italian side since Palma in 1999 to be crowned Europa League champions.

Overcoming a host of heavyweight hurdles during their famous European adventure, Wednesday’s 3-0 romp in Dublin also saw Gasperini’s side officially punch a lucrative Champions League ticket.

Becoming the first club from across the continent to stop Leverkusen this season, La Dea certainly deserve all of the praise as they were crowned European champions for the first time.

Lookman cements his spot as a La Dea icon

Although Lookman might have only arrived at Atalanta back in August 2022 following a permanent move from RB Leipzig, the Nigerian international has firmly cemented his spot in the La Dea history books.

While the one-time Charlton starlet might have struggled to find any kind of stability following stints with both Leicester and Everton over the past few years, Lookman has been a standout performer for Gasperini’s men.

Causing Leverkusen a string of issues in Dublin and producing a trio of sublime strikes on either side of the half-time break, the 26-year-old has recorded 15 goals across all competitions this season.

Relishing life in Bergamo and becoming the poster boy of La Dea’s Europa League success, the former England U21 international could receive some heavyweight interest ahead of the summer transfer window.

With Wednesday’s showdown in Dublin set to be billed as ‘The Lookman Final’, Atalanta’s attacking talisman became the first player to score a European final hat-trick since Jupp Heynckes for Borussia Monchengladbach way back in 1975.

One game too far for Leverkusen

Storming their way to a maiden Bundesliga crown this season, there is no doubt that Bayer Leverkusen have cemented their spot as one of Europe’s ultimate surprise packages.

Remarkably not suffering a single defeat from any of their 51 appearances across all competitions this year and breaking a string of famous records, Alonso’s men were certainly tipped as a standout contender when they arrived in Dublin on Wednesday night.

However, although the German high-flyers might have already established their place in the Bundesliga history books, Wednesday’s trip to the Aviva Stadium was simply a game too far.

Despite gaining a reputation for their free-flowing approach under the former Real Madrid midfielder, Leverkusen failed to find any kind of rhythm and were outplayed across the park.

However, despite suffering Europa League heartbreak on Wednesday night, Alonso’s men face a speedy turnaround as they look to complete a domestic double this weekend.

Desperate to find an immediate response on Saturday night, Leverkusen will meet German second-tier outfit Kaiserslautern as they look to get their hands on a first DFP Pokal title since 1993.

Match Report

Atalanta: Musso, Djimsiti, Hien, Kolasinac, Zappacosta, Ederson, Koopmeiners, Ruggeri, Lookman, De Ketelaere, Scamacca

Subs: Scalvini, Hateboer, Bilal Toure, Toloi, Pasalic

Bayer Leverkusen: Kovar, Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie, Grimaldo, Dhaka, Palacios, Stanisic, Frimpong, Wirtz, Adil

Subs: Hlozek, Boniface, Tella, Schick, Andrich

Goals: Lookman (12’, 26’, 75’)

Yellow Cards: Atalanta: Koopmeiners, Djimsiti, Zappacosta, Scamacca – Bayer Leverkusen: Wirtz, Tapsoba, Andrich

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Istvan Kovacs


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan



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