Gasperini: Atalanta can beat Dortmund

Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini

Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini believes his team have a good chance of getting past Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League on Thursday.

The Serie A outfit lost the first leg of their round-of-32 tie 3-2 against the BVB in Germany, but the return leg is at the Mapei Stadium and Gasperini is optimistic about his side’s chances.

“We are proud just with the fact we are facing such an important match. It remains a game of football and that’s how we will approach it,” he told his press conference ahead of the game.

“Everything that is around it, the enthusiasm and the eagerness, needs to be locked out so we can focus our energy on the game.

“The first leg was very useful. There were moments when either side had the upper hand, we got a sense of each other’s strengths. Now we know each other better and hope not to make the same mistakes.”

Atalanta had a 2-1 lead in the first leg thanks to a brace from Josip Ilicic, but Michy Batshuayi scored twice to give the Bundesliga side the lead heading into the decider.

He added: “The first leg ended with a Dortmund advantage, but the tie is played over 180 minutes and we have a good chance. All things considered, it’s a result that gives us a chance of going through. I think 51-49 to them and both teams will try to win the game.

“If we were to go through, it’d be a great thing for me and for the city of Bergamo. We have the opportunity and will do everything we can to take it.”