Atalanta beat Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen - UEFA Europa League

Three Reasons Why Atalanta Beat Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Europa League Final

Atalanta beat Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen to clinch the 2023-2024 UEFA Europa League trophy. Here we look at three reasons why the Italian side was able to overcome Leverkusen on the crucial night of the finals:

1. The counter-attacking style of play

Atalanta didn’t have a great chunk of possession in their UEFA Europa League final clash against Bayer Leverkusen, which was held at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Despite not having the ball for a greater duration in the match, they waited for the right opportunity and played on the counter.

It’s easy to plan to sit back and play on the counter, but there must be the audacity and skill behind a particular team’s players to hit the opponent hard with the counter-attacking brand of football whenever the opportunity arrives. The Seria A team was able to do that and proved too hot for Bundesliga side Leverkusen to handle during certain match situations.

2. Having better shots on target to total shots towards the goal efficiency

As Atalanta beat Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen in the UEL final, one major thing that stood out from the match stats was their total shots on target to total shots towards the goal ratio. The Italian side managed to have seven shots on target out of 10 shots taken on goal. On the other hand, Leverkusen just had three shots on target out of their 10 shots taken towards the opponent’s goal.

The above-mentioned stat shows the clinical edge that Atalanta was able to hold upon the German team on the night when it mattered the most. Also, for major moments in the match, Atalanta’s decision-making in the final third was a lot better than Leverkusen’s, who looked like they were rushing things a bit.

3. The underdog mentality going into the finals and having a set game plan

Bayer Leverkusen were tipped to be the favorites going into the UEL finals as the German club has been in a rich vein of form lately maintaining their highly talked about unbeaten run. But, despite having a very decent Europa League campaign this season and beating some of the biggest clubs in the tournament, there was hardly any buzz about how Atalanta could spoil Leverkusen’s hopes of winning the UEL trophy.

Kudos to Gian Piero Gasperini’s side who stuck to their set game plan throughout the match. They utilized the pace of players like Ademola Lookman and Gianluca Scamacca upfront to convert those counter-attacking situations into goals and managed to score three goals on the night. They also defended pretty well and didn’t look fazed when Leverkusen attacked in clusters.

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