9.03.2022Europa League

Seoane before #ATAB04: Meeting of two attacking teams

The Werkself are away at Atalanta in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday, 10 March. Kick-off at the Gewiss Stadium is at 21:00 CET. Ahead of final training on Wednesday afternoon, head coach Gerardo Seoane and captain Lukas Hradecky spoke at the pre-match press conference.

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Seoane sees the game against the team sitting sixth in Italy’s Serie A as a very complex endeavour. “Both teams are very attacking but also have a compact defence,” the 43-year-old said. The hosts may be without two strikers in Duvan Zapata and Josip Ilicic, but the Swiss tactician still regards Gian Piero Gasperini’s side as a good and dangerous collective. “They’ve developed well in recent years. It’ll be a tough job, but we can do it.”

Hradecky: “Atalanta aggressive and snappy”

Goalkeeper Hradecky has prior experience of facing Gasperini’s team. “I played a friendly here in Bergamo with Frankfurt in 2016 pre-season,” the 32-year-old stated at the press conference. “They were still on their way to the top in Italy at the time. Now they’re a very experienced European team.”

The Leverkusen No.1 is looking forward to an exciting tie against the Italians: “They are extremely aggressive and snappy, but we’ve studied their team well and have to show a mature performance tomorrow.”

Palacios and Aranguiz to start

Seoane has 19 players available to him for Thursday. The players who haven’t made the journey are goalkeeper Andrey Lunev (ankle), striker Patrik Schick (muscular), winger Karim Bellarabi (muscular), and midfielders Robert Andrich (knee problems), Julian Baumgartlinger (not in the European squad) and Kerem Demirbay (suspended).

Demirbay’s suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards means Seoane has already confirmed that Charles Aranguiz and Exequiel Palacios will be his two holding midfielders. “Both are well capable of being able to make a mark in attack and defence.”

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