Home Sports Xabi Alonso reels over Bayer Leverkusen’s ‘painful’ Europa League final defeat by Atalanta… as German side’s unbeaten run comes to an end

Xabi Alonso reels over Bayer Leverkusen’s ‘painful’ Europa League final defeat by Atalanta… as German side’s unbeaten run comes to an end

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Xabi Alonso reels over Bayer Leverkusen's 'painful' Europa League final defeat by Atalanta... as German side's unbeaten run comes to an end

  • Atalanta extinguished Bayer Leverkusen’s dreams of a fairytale season in Dublin
  • Alonso said he was still “proud” of his team after their epic season
  • IAN LADYMAN: The Premier League title race is down to the wire, it’s not boring compared to other European leagues! – Listen to the It’s all starting! podcast

Xabi Alonso admitted he was “proud” of his Bayer Leverkusen team despite claiming their Europa League final defeat to Atalanta was “painful”.

The German team’s fairytale season came to an abrupt end on Wednesday night in Dublin, when Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta thrashed Leverkusen 3-0 at the Aviva Stadium, ending their 51-game unbeaten streak and extinguish their hopes of achieving a treble.

“For me, today’s result doesn’t change in the slightest how I feel about my players or what we’ve been doing,” the Spaniard told BBC After the match.

“It hurts because we wanted to lift the trophy but you can’t have everything. We have lifted the Bundesliga and on Saturday we have the opportunity to lift the DFB Cup.”

Leverkusen has not lost for almost a year, and its last defeat came on May 27, 2023, 3-0 against VFL Bochum.

“It wasn’t our day. We’ve had a bad night. “It hurts me that it happened in such an important game.”

And he added: ‘The normal thing is not to suffer a first defeat in the 52nd game. What we achieved is exceptional and we should be proud. But it is painful.’

In just over a year and a half, Alonso managed to galvanize this Bayer Leverkusen team to win its first Bundesliga title, while also reaching the final of the Europa League and the German Cup.

Their league record currently stands at an impressive 2.65 points per game, and Alonso’s team has amassed a whopping 90 points, just one point shy of Bayern Munich’s record 91 points accumulated in the 2012 season. -13.

‘Yes, for sure this season and the achievements have exceeded all expectations. “I was hoping and preparing to do something great, but this has been so much more,” he said, highlighting the excellent form of his team.

“To achieve what we have for a club like Leverkusen is fantastic. Being in the last week of the season having lifted the Bundesliga and playing today we couldn’t get there and then going for the Pokal also means a lot. “The first year as a coach is going quite well.”

Leverkusen had become the last-gasp goal king this season, but after losing 2-0, Atalanta tightened control of the match, and it seemed that Alonso’s team, which occupies first place in Europe, is season in terms of most decisive goals after 90 minutes, he could not achieve a comeback.

Former Everton and Fulham winger Ademola Lookman emerged as Atalanta’s hero that night, scoring a hat-trick of sensational goals to guide his team to their first European trophy and first silver medal in 61 years.

“Yes, I would say so (they were better in all aspects),” he told TNT Sports while speaking in Leverkusen. ‘When they scored the first goal they had a lot of energy.

“We probably tried to make too many passes in the first phase when we should have tried to attract the first player and then go forward a bit more.

‘It wasn’t about tactics. Individually they were better and as a team too. We have to learn from that. It hurts that it comes on a day as important as today, but we have another final on Saturday and we will try to learn from today.”

Atalanta coach Gasperini praised his players after they produced a dominant display to defeat the Bundesliga champions.

“I think we wrote history, also because of the way we won it,” the Atalanta coach told TNT Sports.

“It was simply extraordinary, we defeated Liverpool and Sporting, who won the championship. When we faced Liverpool, they were first in the Premier League… And now champions of Germany.

‘Incredible. The boys were extraordinary, a memorable performance.”

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