De Roon expects an attractive duel with Ajax: 'Attacking teams, lots of goals'.

The knives are slowly sharpened ahead of the crucial Champions League game between Ajax and Atalanta Bergamo on Wednesday night. For the winner awaits the next round, the loser rest 'only' the Europa League.

Atalanta midfielder Marten de Roon is looking forward to the duel. "It could be an attractive game, with two teams playing on the attack. A lot of goals can fall." For the Italians, a draw is enough.

Atalanta is coming to the end of a special European year anyway. Last season the club reached the quarter finals of the Champions League for the first time in history. According to De Roon this is thanks to coach Gian Piero Gasperini


'Gasperini has brought us a lot'

"The trainer has brought a lot to the club, especially the mentality to want to win every match. Whether it's against Ajax, Juventus or the little ones. He likes to attack and preferably with as many players and position changes as possible."

Ajax and Atalanta can be compared in a number of respects, but also differ. "Ajax has been doing it their way for years, with a philosophy of always attacking. We are similar in that respect. But our attitude and tactics do not resemble each other, in that respect we differ a lot."

Why both teams are also comparable is that they are performing well this season in European outdoor games. Atlanta won from FC Midtjylland (0-4) and Liverpool (0-2), but in Italy they lost 5-0 to the English and 2-2 against Ajax.

According to the midfielder of Orange, this is difficult to explain. "I think the home teams are attacking more at home, so we're getting more space. Then we're a stronger team. When teams come to visit us, it's more often to get results. But it's hard to explain the difference."

Trainer Gian Piero Gasperini tried to take the pressure off his team during the closing press conference. "Last season we were a few minutes away from a place in the semi-finals of the Champions League", he referred to the two hits of Paris Saint-Germain in injury time (1-2). "But for a club like Atalanta, it's no disgrace to be in the Europa League after the winter break. We're going to do everything we can to prevent that from happening."

Gosens of the party

Besides De Roon, Hans Hateboer and Sam Lammers, Robin Gosens is also back at Atalanta. The defender tested 'positive' on the coronavirus last Saturday, but the test turned out to be false-positive, so the 26-year-old Gosens is still entitled to play and joined the selection.

In the run-up to the duel with Ajax, Atalanta had an extra day's rest. The league game against Udinese was cancelled last Sunday due to heavy rainfall.


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