A finalist and runner-up in the Coppa Italia, and fourth in the standings on the eve of the meeting at Allianz Stadium: Atalanta’s season is undoubtedly positive and has gone beyond all predictions that were made. To understand the meaning of their virtuous path well, it is enough to look back at their situation when Juve met Gasperini's team earlier in the season… After the 2-2 draw with Juventus, the Nerazzurri were in ninth place and six points from fourth and they were paying the price of an excessive number of defeats, which were equal to their amount of successes at the time: seven. The second half of the season, though, has instead registered a much more linear trend, which has led the Bergamo side to enter the Champions League qualification zone at the 34th day.
It may seem like a "minor" game, compared to other victories obtained against the big teams (think of the 4-1 home win vs Inter). But the 3-1 success at Tardini is actually one of the top moments of their league campaign, because it was on that day, that Atalanta showed their ability to seize the moment, halving the disadvantage from fourth place from -6 to -3 points, taking advantage of Milan's defeat against Sampdoria. A decisive victory over Parma, even more important because it was gained through a comeback, with Pasalic's goal and Zapata's double to cancel the effects of Gervinho's initial network.
It seemed to be the moment when the dream of qualifying for the elite European cup competition was going to fade. Because with the 0-0 draw at home against Empoli, Atalanta lost contact with the competition, that in that turn, had instead collected maximum points, resulting in the Bergamaschi ending up in sixth place. But on closer inspection, the 32nd match day had many positive indications. Because if it is true that it was an anomaly, the fact that the best attack of the league had not found a way on goal, it was also clear how much volume of play the team had produced, with 32 shots at goal and 13 on target.
Eight years in Italy, five of which have been spent in Bergamo. Alejandro Dario Gomez, better known as ‘Papu’, has once again been a protagonist for Atalanta this year, even if it was impossible to match that the record of 16 goals he scored two years ago. This season he started off with a bang, scoring two goals and providing as many assists on the first day, however, he struggled to goals wise going forward. An all-terrainist, in possession of a first-class personality, the Argentine has been absolutely decisive in the second part of the season, contributing his play to the fortune of Zapata as the team’s main striker.