Lookman nets hat-trick as Atalanta beat Bayer Leverkusen in Europa League closing – response | EUROtoday

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Bayer Leverkusen and Xabi Alonso are two victories away from finishing what should be thought to be the proper season: going unbeaten throughout all competitions and profitable the Bundesliga, Europa League and German Cup.

Granted, the European leg of this explicit ‘invincible treble’ isn’t the Champions League, however it will be churlish to carry that in opposition to Leverkusen. The membership, generally labelled ‘Neverkusen’ due to their historical past of falling brief, had not received the Bundesliga earlier than this season, and have received the German Cup simply as soon as. That was 31 years in the past. They have been runners-up within the Champions League in 2002, and their solely European trophy is the 1988 Uefa Cup.

They will not be one in every of trendy soccer’s powerhouses, and have been reworked by Alonso in his first job in administration. Alonso performed underneath Rafeal Benitez, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, however his group wears these influences calmly. He is forging a method all of his personal, combining the structured build-up of Guardiola, but in addition parts of direct, quick counter-attacks and fluid actions. Florian Wirtz is the jewel within the crown, whereas former Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka units the tempo in deep midfield.

“We have been preparing for this moment through all the year, it is not just a two-day job,” stated Alonso. “Tomorrow I’ve an excellent feeling it’s not going to be completely different. We respect Atalanta however we’ve confidence in our sport and our mentality isn’t going to vary.

“Luckily I’ve an excellent group, they’re prepared and effectively ready for tomorrow and go into the sport with the fitting mindset.

Given Leverkusen play second-division Kaiserslauten of their home cup closing on Saturday, tonight’s Europa League closing in opposition to Atalanta in Dublin seems the more durable job. Gian Piero Gasperini’s group persistently punch above their weight, and gave Liverpool one hell of a slap throughout the face within the quarter-finals. They smothered Liverpool with their man-to-man urgent. These are two of essentially the most distinctive and attention-grabbing tactical items in European soccer, however that doesn’t all the time make for an open and entertaining sport.

Full group information on the way in which shortly.