Super Eagles stars Boniface, Tella and Lookman face off in European final

One of the attractions of tonight’s UEFA Europa League final is the showdown between Nigerian internationals as Bayer Leverkusen of Germany and Atlanta of Italy meet in Dublin, Ireland, for the second trophy in a European club competition. .

Super Eagles star Ademola Lookman, who starred in his team’s victory over Marseille with a goal and an assist in the semi-final clash, will face Nathan Tella and Victor Boniface in the final.

Atalanta reached the Europa League final with a 2-0 home win over French side Olympique Marseille with Lookman featuring prominently.

Bayer Leverkusen will secure the second silver medal of their historic 2023/24 season if they beat Atalanta for the UEFA Europa League crown in Dublin.

Victor Boniface, who was Leverkusen’s best player in the Bundesliga and top scorer in the Europa League last season, could well start on the bench, with Patrik Schick likely to get the nod. Matěj Kovář will start between the sticks as the cup’s preferred goalkeeper.

To say that Leverkusen led by Xaxi Alonso is on the cusp of greatness would not be fair: it must already become one of the great German football teams of all time after becoming the first team to remain undefeated for an entire season of the Bundesliga. , and they can also become European conquerors in Dublin, with only Atalanta between them and the club’s first continental honor since winning the competition in its previous form as the UEFA Cup in 1988.

Leverkusen’s path to the final has been far from a procession, with a notable last-16 draw against Qarabağ nearly eliminating them and late goals against Roma in the semi-final, but the Bundesliga champions will be the favorites to lift the trophy in Ireland. .

Atalanta have had an excellent season in their own right, experiencing some of the euphoria that Leverkusen fans can relate to as a club not used to lifting honours.

Only a 1-0 defeat to Juventus in the Italian Cup final last week deprived the Black and Blues of the second title in their club’s history. They have faced an intense end to the domestic campaign as they chased qualification for the UEFA Champions League, but it is a period they have gone through in impressive form: they made it five wins in a row in Serie A, reached the final of the Italian Cup and defeated Liverpool and Marseille. out of the Europa League.

Surely their respected coach, Gian Piero Gasperini, has been reflecting for a long time on how to become the first team to beat Leverkusen this season.