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Race for the Scudetto: Motta's Bologna masterpiece; Gasperini has Atalanta peaking; Allegri's Juventus exit?

Bologna will play in next year's Champions League! Who would have thought that at the beginning of the season? Not me, not us! Let's be honest. This is really the biggest surprise of the year. Thiago Motta has succeeded in something unthinkable, making talented players (their talent has never been in doubt) such as Riccardo Calafiori, Josh Zirkzee, Lewis Ferguson and other key players on the team look like champions. We will talk about that, as we will talk about Atalanta's great performance against Roma and the draw between Juventus and Salernitana. Let's see what happened in the last weekend:


SURPRISE OF THE WEEK - JUVENTUS 1-1 SALERNITANA

Within minutes of the final whistle of the match, the Stefano Colantuono-coached team was even winning at home to Juventus, 0-1. Really something unexpected and resounding. Max Allegri and his boys currently can't win a game, they struggle against everyone. And it happened again last weekend in front of their own fans. It took a goal scored just seconds before the end of the match to avoid a painful and easily avoidable defeat.

They managed to qualify for the next Champions League somehow, but the Bianconeri's path in recent months is more or less that of a team fighting not to be relegated to Serie B. Surely it weighs the fact that at the end of the year Allegri will no longer be the Juventus coach, probably the non-confirmation of the coach has created a disconnect within the group, which at some point stopped believing in the possibility of achieving league goals.

There is still the Coppa Italia's final, a competition the Bianconeri can win (even if they will play against Atalanta…), but Allegri's future is now sealed. He should be replaced by Thiago Motta but of this there is no certainty yet, Bologna's coach has a lot of offers. In any case, Kudos to Colantuono and his Salernitana: despite the total absence of goals in the league they continue to do their best.


TEAM PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK - ATALANTA

Gian Piero Gasperini's Atalanta is really scary and it seems a perfect, flawless, team. Roma knows it well: on Sunday, coming back from a huge commitment in the Europa League, they were unable to hold off Gianluca Scamacca and his teammates. Atalanta managed to shoot on goal multiple times. Mile Svilar, two posts but also many errors in the finishing phase prevented a heavy loss for the Giallorossi.

An incredible show of strength, following another great game in Europe against Marseille. Gasperini and his boys also got their hands on Champions League qualification via Serie A, in addition to playing in the Europa League and Coppa Italia finals. A historic, unforgettable season: Gasperini is doing a sensational job, no doubt this year his team is giving their all and reaping the fruits of years and years of work.

The Nerazzurri were going twice as fast on Sunday, Roma's players could neither defend nor buffer Atalanta's attacks, while Teun Koopmeiners and teammates attacked with their head down, producing one goal chance after another. At the moment perhaps only Bayer Leverkusen can stop Atalanta, arguably the fittest team in the league and perhaps in Europe from an athletic standpoint, one of the strengths of Gasperini's work.


TEAM OF THE WEEK - BOLOGNA

Thiago Motta brought Bologna back to the Champions League after sixty years. Maybe we haven't fully understood it yet and it is necessary to write it once more: it has been 60 years since Bologna were in the Champions League.

The celebration in Bologna was stunning, so many fans poured into the streets of the city to celebrate the new heroes, from Thiago Motta, the real architect of this masterpiece, to the stars of the team, from Josh Zirkzee and Riccardo Calafiori to Lewis Ferguson (injured) and great players such as Sam Beukema, Stefan Posch, Remo Freuler and others.

Giovanni Sartori has built a top team while spending little money: Calafiori and Zirkzee cost about 13 million euros between the two of them. Two incredible deals, one just has to take one's hat off to something like that. Motta made each player look stronger and that means doing a great job: in short, Bologna returning to the Champions League is the result of a great team effort. It will be very difficult to succeed in keeping the team's stars; there are many clubs interested in the various top players of the team, starting with the coach, Juventus' first target for the bench (not only Juventus, though).

Bologna's president has the economic strength to set up a high-level multi-year project, in the summer it will be possible to test his ambitions for the future, but being able to keep even one of this year's protagonists would be another masterpiece. Congratulations Bologna.

Video of the day:

Matteo Vitale
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Matteo Vitale

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