It has been nearly 56 years since Bergamo-based Atalanta BC beat Torino 3-1 in the Coppa Italia final to land their one and only piece of major silverware. That win in 1963 was achieved with a team predominantly made up of local players, with half a dozen born in Bergamo itself.
The club has continued to harvest talent through its 75-year-old youth academy but have yet to add another trophy to their cabinet. However, that could all be about to change as they prepare to take on Lazio in the 2019 Coppa Italia final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Underdogs despite league triumph
The team known as La Dea will start as underdogs as Lazio have the home advantage. However, when the two met at the same venue in their recent Serie A clash, it was the visitors who came out on top, romping to a 3-1 win. They are currently 9/5 in the football betting odds to claim the second Coppa Italia trophy in their 111-year history.
Atalanta last reached the Coppa Italia final in 1996 where they were beaten 3-0 on aggregate by Fiorentina. They also reached the final in 1987 where they fell 3-0 to Diego Maradona’s Napoli. They will be hoping for a more positive outcome when they contest their fourth domestic cup in the middle of May.
Top four within reach
As well as reaching the cup final, Gian Piero Gasperini’s team are in with a good shout of qualifying for the Champions League having forced their way into fourth place in the table following a run of seven wins and three draws in their last 10 Serie A matches. That run included a 2-1 win away to second-ranked Napoli. The Nerazzurri are currently odds-on to grab fourth and could even overhaul Inter to claim third in the table. Even if they don’t finish fourth, they look certain to qualify for the Europa League and will guarantee at least that if they win the Coppa Italia.
Against all odds
What makes their achievements all the more impressive, is that they have done it on a small budget while losing many of their best young players to their rivals. Their squad is made up of a combination of up-and-coming players drafted in from around Europe, graduates from their own academy and older players who have found a new lease of life under Gasperini. They are a team that has few star players but is greater than the sum of its parts.
They slipped up at the qualifying stage in their last Europa League campaign, losing to Copenhagen on penalties following a 0-0 stalemate over two legs. But in the 2017/18 campaign, they topped their group, beating Premier League side Everton 8-1 on aggregate in the process, before losing 4-3 to Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16. There is a general consensus they are even better prepared to take on Europe’s finest this time around, providing, of course, they do not suffer another exodus of players in the summer.