The Champions League makes its welcome return in a few weeks, when the Round of 16 will be completed, and a single elimination tournament takes place in Lisbon. Bayern Munich are the current favorites to win it all, closely followed by Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
But there’s one team who are poised to enter as a dark horse and completely upset the hegemony of the big boys: Atalanta.
They don’t have any megastar players, their stadium is so small that they’ve been playing their Champions League games at the nearby San Siro, and their crest looks like the logo on a shampoo bottle.
But Atalanta are almost certainly the most entertaining side in Europe right now, who play furious, high-pressing, attack focused soccer.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s side are undefeated in 17 matches, and have earned impressive wins over Lazio and Napoli since the restart.
In a recent visit to Juventus Stadium, they were desperately unlucky to leave with only a point in a game they completely controlled.
They appear able to unlock any defense, their movement on and off the ball is amazing, and in forwards Luis Muriel and Duván Zapata they have two of the most potent goalscorers in the game right now.
Atalanta are only two games from the Champions League final, and they’re in the weaker half of the draw.
First they’ll face a Paris Saint-Germain side who haven’t played competitively since March (and who have historically struggled in the latter stages of this contest) and then it’s either RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid keeping them from the final.
In their current form, you’d back Atalanta to reach that final—and maybe… even claim the title.
The Champions League hasn’t been a competition where an underdog can go the distance in a long, long time. But these are not normal times, and this Atalanta side have an incredible shot at upsetting the apple cart of European soccer.
Either way, they’re a massive success story right now, and well worth your time.
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