UEFA Europa League – Atalanta-Lyon – Atalanta v Lyon background
Atalanta and Lyon both sealed qualification from UEFA Europa League Group E with big victories on matchday five. The outcome of their meeting in Reggio Emilia will decide the top two positions in the section.
• The winner of this match will clinch the group, but if it ends in a draw then the scoreline will be decisive – with 0-0 or 1-1 favouring Atalanta but 2-2 or any higher-scoring draw giving Lyon the edge.
• The matchday two encounter in France, which was the first time the teams had met as well as Atalanta’s maiden encounter with French opposition, finished 1-1. Bertrand Traoré put Lyon ahead on the stroke of half-time before Atalanta equalised through captain Alejandro Gómez on 57 minutes.
• Lyon’s record in 23 games against Italian sides is now W8 D6 L9 (W4 D2 L5 in Italy). They have not won on any of their last four visits across the border (D1 L3).
• Atalanta achieved their biggest away win in Europe on matchday five when they overcame Everton 5-1 at Goodison Park; they are now five matches unbeaten in Europe this season (W3 D2).
• Atalanta are seven home games unbeaten in Europe, their last such defeat coming in the 1987/88 European Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final against Mechelen (1-2).
• Lyon have scored in each of their last eight European away matches, and their last 13 home and away. However, they have won just one of their last five fixtures outside France (D1 L3).
• Fourth in Serie A last term, Atalanta are back in Europe for the first time since 1990/91, when they were eliminated by Internazionale Milano in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals.
• Lyon were UEFA Europa League semi-finalists last season, when they lost to Ajax having transferred from the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Lyon to Reggio Emilia, where Atalanta are playing their European home fixtures, is around 470km.
• Atalanta’s Robin Gosens and Lyon’s Traoré were both on the books at Dutch club Vitesse in 2014/15, but never played a senior game together.
• Lyon defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa played in Italy with Roma in 2014/15, featuring in a 1-1 Serie A draw at home to Atalanta.
• This season’s UEFA Europa League final, on 16 May 2018, will be staged in Lyon’s home stadium.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Andrea Masiello, Josip Iličić (Atalanta); Marçal (Lyon)
• A one-time Juventus youth player, Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini mostly played in Italy’s lower divisions but worked his way up to the top tier as a coach, leading Inter, Genoa and Palermo before taking the job in Bergamo in 2016.
• Born in Lyon, Bruno Génésio came through the club’s ranks as a midfielder, playing for the senior side from 1985–95. He returned to the club as assistant coach in 2011 before taking sole command in December 2015.