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Atalanta logo
Europa League | Group Stage
Sep 21, 2023 at 8pm UK
Gewiss Stadium
2 - 0
De Ketelaere (49'), Ederson (66')
de Roon (32')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Atalanta BC vs. Rakow Czestochowa - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Atalanta BC and Rakow Czestochowa, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Atalanta BC return to the European stage after a year away with a home tie against Polish champions Rakow Czestochowa in the Europa League on Thursday.

Limited capacities, stadium refurbishment and an outright ban on supporters at grounds has meant very few of the Atalanta faithful have been able to witness their incredible recent European journeys in the flesh, but they should be out in full force here.

Match preview

Atalanta's Ademola Lookman celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 22, 2023© Reuters

For the first time since that dark cloud dispersed around the globe, Atalanta can welcome full crowds to the Gewiss Stadium for a European encounter.

La Dea have been spoiled with Champions League campaigns during Gian Piero Gasperini's tenure, but just qualifying for continental football at all will be a relief after the club missed out entirely last season.

Atalanta have only ever won one home game here in Bergamo in Europe - excluding qualifiers - but they did win all three designated home matches in the 2017-18 Europa League.

They were dealt a tough group, facing Lyon, Everton and Apollon Limassol and were forced to play in Reggio Emilia, but they still stormed through and will expect to do so again in a slightly weaker group on paper.

Two runs to the knockout stages of the Champions League soon followed in 2019-20 and 2020-21, as Gasperini's men were mere minutes away from a semi-final in 2020.

A repeat of their run to the quarter-finals in this competition two years ago would be a relative success, but Atalanta are a club who strive to punch above their weight consistently, and it would not be beyond them to go further.

Gasperini has become known as something of a cup specialist domestically too alongside his astonishing league finishes with the club.

The last six seasons in the Coppa Italia have seen Atalanta reach the final twice, a semi-final and a further two quarter-finals.

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini before the match on May 27, 2023© Reuters

Improving on an inconsistent start will be important here, as the Nerazzurri have won two and lost two so far in Serie A.

They were dealt a relatively difficult start though with three away games, losing at Fiorentina at the weekend.

Monza have been the only side to make the trip to the Gewiss this season and they were beaten 3-0, extending Atalanta's record to five wins from their last six here, scoring three or more in all of those victories.

On Rakow's European debut, they have been handed an unenviable task of trying to take down two of Europe's finest club sides.

Despite Sporting Lisbon also being drawn in the section, Rakow may have their heights set high given how they performed against the odds last season, but a battle for the Europa Conference League in third will be most likely.

Dawid Szwarga's men have shown fine form on the continent so far this season though, only narrowly falling at the final hurdle of Champions League qualifying to Copenhagen.

Flora, Qarabag and Aris Limassol were all dispatched of as Rakow stormed through the early rounds, but a 2-1 aggregate defeat means their maiden European campaign is in the Europa League instead.

They also bring fine form from the Ekstraklasa into this game too, having beaten Stal Mielec, Puszcza and LKS Lodz in succession without conceding.

Atalanta BC form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Rakow Czestochowa form (all competitions):

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Team News

Atalanta's Mario Pasalic celebrates scoring their first goal on May 27, 2023© Reuters

El Bilal Toure is yet to feature in a competitive fixture for Atalanta since arriving from Almeria over the summer.

With Rasmus Hojlund and Duvan Zapata also out the door, this game could have given Gianluca Scamacca the chance to stake his place for a regular spot in the side.

The recent signing from West Ham United has picked up an injury which will see him miss around three weeks of action though, so Charles De Ketelaere and Luis Muriel are set to start instead.

Hans Hateboer returned from injury to take a place on the bench in Florence at the weekend, while Juan Musso and Berat Djimsiti were both rested.

Croatian international Mario Pasalic could also come in, with Gasperini likely to rotate his team slightly in Europe.

Rakow will be without defender Zoran Arsenic, who played a pivotal role in their title-winning success last season.

Gustav Berggren and Bogdan Racovitan both dropped to the bench for their league encounter at the weekend but should come back into the side.

Summer signing Sonny Kittel was also left out in preparation for this game, so the recent Hamburg recruit is also in line to start.

Jean Carlos Silva, Stratos Svarnas and Ivi are also sidelined and will be big misses for the Polish visitors.

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Musso; Djimsiti, Scalvini, Kolasinac; Hateboer, De Roon, Koopmeiners, Pasalic, Ruggeri; De Ketelaere, Muriel

Rakow Czestochowa possible starting lineup:
V Kovacevic; Racovitan, A Kovacevic, Rundic; Tudor, Berggren, Lederman, Plavsic; Kittel, Zwolinski, Nowak

SM words green background

We say: Atalanta BC 4-2 Rakow Czestochowa

Gasperini's ultra-attacking style of play very rarely changes, and it does not need to, given the success they have had, but while they are big favourites to win here, their opponents may spring one or two surprises on them.

Rakow may have performed heroically in Champions League qualifying and have started well domestically, but they are likely to struggle to contain Atalanta's fearsome attack.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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Group G

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Group H

1B. Leverkusen550015

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