Atalanta and Leverkusen set for Dublin showdown

Mike Finnerty 10 May 2024

The Aviva will play host to Italian team Atalanta and German team Bayer Leverkusen in the upcoming Europa League final.

The final will be held on May 22nd and will see Atalanta play in their first-ever European final, while Bayer Leverkusen will play in their first European final since the 2002 Champions League final.

Atalanta have emerged as a force to be reckoned with in European football over the last 5 years, with their run to the quarter-finals in the 2020 Champions League putting them on the map.

The Italian team saw off Marseille to book their place in the final, while Leverkusen denied the prospect of an all-Italian final by drawing with Roma.

Leverkusen are toasting their first-ever Bundesliga title, managed by Liverpool and Real Madrid icon Xabi Alonso and are looking to make it a treble.

Leverkusen, who have gone 49 games without being beaten in all competitions, are also competing in the DFB Pokal (the German domestic cup final) on May 25th.

Alonso emerged as a favourite for the Liverpool job following the surprise decision by Jurgen Klopp to step down in January, but has opted to stay with the German team.

The Aviva was given the right to host this year’s Europa League final as part of a deal struck with UEFA to compensate Ireland losing out on hosting Euro 2020.

The stadium was selected as a host venue for the pan-European tournament which was majorly delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In April 2021 it was announced that Dublin would not be a host city for the tournament as government felt they were not in a position to host in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time.

UEFA gave Dublin the right to host the 2024 Europa League final in a bid to help the FAI recoup some of the lost revenue.

The Aviva previously hosted the 2011 Europa League final which saw two Portuguese teams, Porto and Braga, face off.

On that occasion Porto saw off Braga thanks to a goal by Columbian striker Radamel Falcao.

Croke Park will be used as a fan zone during the final, despite earlier fears by elected reps and Gardaí that Dublin would be swarmed by fans of British teams.

In March, Fianna Fáil MEP Barry Andrews expressed concerns that should a team with a large Irish following like Liverpool or Aston Villa qualify for the final the city would struggle under the strain.

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