• June 18, 2024
  • Last Update June 18, 2024 4:20 PM
  • Nairobi

Atalanta ends Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten record

Atalanta ends Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten record

By Peter Ochieng

Finally, Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen have lost a game this season.


Xabi Alonso’s side lost the first game spectacularly, going down 3-0 against Italian Serie A side Atalanta, in the Europa League final, played in Dublin on Wednesday night.


Before the match, Leverkusen had become the first team to win the German topflight title unbeaten, besides setting a record of going 51 games without losing.


Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta side had never won a trophy in 61 years, and doing so by overpowering Leverkusen’s unbeaten side without a doubt added the icing on the cake.


Nigeria’s Ademola Lookman was the star of the show, scoring a historic hat-trick. Pundits says each of his goas was arguably better than the one that preceded it.


Gasperini subjected Alonso to a tactical masterclass, with the underdogs completely dominating their undefeated treble-chasing opponents.


Lookman, 26, was never that clinical when he played for the likes of Charlton, Everton, RB Leipzig, Fulham or Leicester.


Gasperin spoken of his journey with the Nigerian, who featured for the England under 21 side before settling for the Super Eagles senior side.


Gasperini said, as quoted by BBC. “We had a senior manager at Atalanta [Lee Congerton] who had worked at Leicester, who saw the opportunity to bring him in and thought he was a possible useful player.


“Nobody could ever imagine he’d could make this much progress. He wasn’t overly prolific in England. I changed his position to a more attacking role.

“Tonight he achieved something which will remain in the annals of football history – a stunning hat-trick.”


Lookman said he said he has taken his game to another level, since he started working with Gasperin.


“In the past two years I’ve been able to take my game to a new level and show it on a more consistent basis,” he said.


“Maybe it could have come earlier but it’s come now. I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made but this is just the beginning. I hope for more nights like this,” he added.


“The past few years, the club and coach have supported me in terms of giving me minutes… it’s helped me elevate my game to a new level.”


Bayer Leverkusen have another final to play this week. Alonso’s side will face FC Kaiserslautern in the DFB Pokal final on Saturday, in Berlin.

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