In 2011 Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio secured promotion back to the Serie A, the topflight of Italian football. Now, they’re in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
Atalanta have remained in the top tier of Italian football ever since their promotion nearly ten years ago, but since the appointment of former Genoa head coach Gian Piero Gasperini in 2016, La Dea have risen to become one of the most entertaining teams across the whole of Europe.
The 62-year-old Italian took over with Atalanta finishing as a lower mid-table side in previous seasons, but the veteran manager didn’t change Atalanta straight away. At the beginning of his spell in charge, Gasperini came under fire and reports of him set to lose his job surfaced following a disappointing run of form. However, the former Inter Milan and Palermo boss survived dismissal after many impressive results which eventually saw Atalanta surprisingly finish the 2016/17 season in fourth place. Back then, it was only enough for a Europa League qualification, but it was still the first time the club had qualified for European competition in 26 years.
Gasperini’s side earned Europa League qualification again the following season but went one step further in their 2018/19 campaign last year. A slow start to the season picked up midway through, as the black and blue stripes of Atalanta went on to finish in third place; three points ahead of Roma, one point above AC Milan and pipping fourth-placed Inter on goal difference. The spot amongst Europe’s heavyweights was the first time in the club’s history that they have managed to qualify for the Champions League.