Xabi Alonso believes team is ready ahead of Bayer Leverkusen’s Europa League final tie against Atalanta

Speaking at his press conference ahead of Bayer Leverkusen’s Europa League final against Atalanta, head coach Xabi Alonso confirmed that Florian Wirtz is fit to start.

On matters related to the team, such as player fitness and who may start, Alonso confirmed that Matej Kovar will start in goal for Leverkusen tomorrow evening: Matej Kovar will be in goal for the final. We currently have no injured players, everyone is healthy.” Kovar has been Leverkusen’s cup goalkeeper all season and has been rewarded with the starting position in the final. 

Alonso also confirmed that Wirtz is fit enough to start, following the 21-year-old’s absence due to a thigh injury lately: “He can play from the beginning. It will be my decision tomorrow – we will be…”

The former midfielder also gave praise to Leverkusen’s opponents: “Gasperini teams always have a clear idea. Atalanta is very successful in Italy and they have also played very well in Europe. They are developing. It is no longer just the aggressive one-on-one, sometimes they also wait and see. We have to do it well tactically, we need a clear head and our mentality. The plan is there.”

While he also praised his own team: “We have a great team. My players are ready! They have shown throughout the season that they are made for such games. We all have the confidence and our mentality is just strong enough that we can say: ‘Yes, we can do it!'”

Leverkusen are coming off their maiden title and more importantly, a first-ever unbeaten season in Bundesliga history, which they capped off with a 2-1 win against Augsburg on Saturday. Leverkusen will look to add the Europa League and DFB Pokal to their collection within the next week, in doing so they can also end the season completely unbeaten.

However, the game against Atalanta will be one of their toughest tests as the Italians have shown they can cause problems having knocked out Liverpool earlier in the competition.  

GGFN | Jack Meenan

 

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