Atalanta win Europa League Final to end Leverkusen’s unbeaten run


Photo: Stephen Gormley (Red Eye Photo Agency)

Atalanta’s Lookman scored a hat-trick in their 3-0 convincing win over previously unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen to secure their first ever European success in winning the 2024 Europa League Final.

Bayer Leverkusen were favourites going into the Final in Dublin, reflecting their “Invincibles” record this season. The German side were on a remarkable run entering the final, having gone the whole season unbeaten in all competitions. However Atalanta were on an impressive run in the Europa League including convincing wins over Liverpool and Marseille in the quarter and semi finals respectively (both of which also included 3-0 wins in one of those ties).

After only 12 minutes Atalanta were ahead with star forward Ademola Lookman smashing the ball home from around 12 yards out. Leverkusen tried to stay calm and keep on playing their game but it was not easy against a man-marking organised team like Atalanta.

Things got more serious for the German team in the 26th minute. A fast break down the right side and the ball was slid into the box and that man Lookman was there again to make it 2-0.

In the second half Leverkusen had loads of the ball but very few clear chances. Atalanta finished the game off  in the 75th minute with Lookman keeping his best for last with a left foot shot from 20 yards out into the top corner. A first hat trick in a European final for almost 50 years with the last coming in the 1975 UEFA Cup Final from Jupp Heynckes for Borussia Monchengladbach.

Leverkusen looked a tired team, with perhaps their unbeaten run being their downfall as even though they had German league wrapped up weeks ago they were still under pressure to keep their unbeaten run going in every match they played. However they at least have a chance to forget the pain of defeat in Europe by bouncing back with a potential league and cup double if they win against Third Division side Kaiserslautern in the German Cup Final just three days later in Berlin.

Atalanta meanwhile head back to Bergamo in Italy with their first ever European success and will look forward to the additional bonus of Champions League Group stage football next season.


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