Duel against Bergamo: Alonso relies on goalkeeper Matej Kovar in the Europa League final

As of: May 21, 2024 10:04 p.m

Xabi Alonso remains true to his line and relies on Matej Kovar between the posts in the Europa League final. As in the entire competition, regular goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky will also be on the bench against Atalanta Bergamo.

With the treble and a season without defeat in all competitions, Bayer Leverkusen would probably etch themselves very deeply into the collective football memory. Therefore, after winning the championship, not everything that comes now is an encore, but the Europa League final against Atalanta Bergamo in Dublin on Wednesday and the DFB Cup final in Berlin on Saturday against second division Kaiserslautern are the final ingredients to one perfect season.

Alonso confirms that Wirtz is fit for the starting eleven

With such big goals, it is only an advantage if the “difference players” are fit. Simon Rolfes is therefore happy that Florian Wirtz will be “top fit”. At least that is the assessment of the Bayer sports director, who indicated on Tuesday that the DFL’s newly named “Player of the Season” would probably be in the starting line-up against Bergamo.

You play in the final to win.

Granit Xhaka, midfield director at Bayer Leverkusen

Granit Xhaka, midfield director at Bayer

However, coach Xabi Alonso didn’t want to let anyone see his hand at the press conference in the evening. “He can play from the start. We’ll see tomorrow,” said the Spaniard on Tuesday evening. In the last Bundesliga appearance against FC Augsburg (2-1) last weekend, the 21-year-old was rested for a long time and was ultimately only allowed to warm up for Bergamo for half an hour.

No more “Vizelanta” – Bergamo wants the Europa League title arrow right

Kovar remains first choice ahead of Hradecky in the Europa League

However, the Spaniard did not answer the goalkeeper question. He also relies on Matej Kovar in the Europa League final. As has been the case throughout the European Cup season, the Czech will be given preference over regular goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky. Alonso, however, left it open who he would field in the DFB Cup final against 1. FC Kaiserslautern on Saturday.

Sportschau Europa League Live, May 22nd, 2024 8:50 p.m

Kovar played all games in the Europa League except for the last group game against Molde FK (5-1), and the 24-year-old also played in the cup. Captain Hradecky, who said he did not want to claim a final appearance, was on the field in 33 of 34 Bundesliga games.

Schick sees Bayer as the “strongest team in Europe”

If the perfect season actually works out, Leverkusen won’t have to worry about new goals. As brilliant as this season was, it is also clear that a Europa League title does not shine as brightly as one in the Champions League. The Leverkusen team failed once in the final there in 2002 (1:2 against Real Madrid), so they can still improve in terms of success.

A victory for reconciliation with history arrow right

Bayer striker Patrik Schick also suggested this when asked whether Leverkusen is currently the best team in the world: “It’s hard to say if you’re not playing in the Champions League. So let’s wait until next year. But I would say that we are the strongest team in Europe.”


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