Atalanta BC - Rakow Czestochowa predictions and free betting tips [21/09/2023]
On Thursday, 21 September, as part of the 1st round of the Group Stage of the Europa League, Atalanta will host Rakow on their home turf. The past weekend saw the blue-and-whites lose in a high-scoring game against Fiorentina with a score of 3:2, whereas the guests achieved three victories in a row and are set to debut in the second-tier European cup.
Atalanta: Musso; Djimsiti, Scalvini, Kolasinac; Hateboer, De Roon, Koopmeiners, Pasalic, Ruggeri; De Ketelaere, Scamacca.
Rakow: Kovacevic; Racovitan, A Kovacevic, Rundic; Tudor, Berggren, Lederman, Plavsic; Kittel, Zwolinski, Nowak.
The match will take place in Bergamo at the Atleti Azzurri stadium.
Atalanta kicked off the season with two victories against Sassuolo (2:0) and Monza (3:0), but also suffered losses against Frosinone (2:1) and Fiorentina (3:2). The side, managed by Gian Piero Gasperini, has participated in the Champions League a few times but has never claimed any significant glory (their best performance being a quarterfinal exit in 2020). In addition, Atalanta has only won one home match in European competitions, excluding qualifiers. During the 2017-18 season, they lost all three home games against Lyon, Everton, and Apollon.
Nevertheless, the hosts have repeatedly demonstrated their skills in national cups – in the last six campaigns, they made it to the final twice, the semifinals once, and the quarterfinals twice. Two years ago, El Bilal Toure was playing for modest side Reims, and now, after a fantastic season at Almeria (7 goals), the Mali striker has signed a contract with the Italian club. However, he has been nursing physical discomforts since the start of the championship and will most likely miss this encounter.
Poland's Rakow, the reigning national champions, are less known to the broader audience. This is their first participation in the group stage of the Europa League after they failed to qualify for European competitions in previous years. Still, kudos go to the guests for successfully passing four qualifying rounds, all in the Champions League, before losing the final to Copenhagen (0:1, 1:1 on aggregate). Earlier, the Poles had defeated Flora, Garabag, and Aris Limassol. In their homeland championship, Rakow currently sits in the fourth position and recently won decisively against Lodz, 1:0. Although Sporting Lisbon is in their group, Rakow aims to progress to the knockout stage. Spanish player Ivi Lopez, who scored 9 goals and made 6 assists last season, played a crucial part in helping the team win the title but has been sidelined due to an injury. His participation in the trip to Bergamo is doubtful.
These teams have not met in history.
Match Prediction: Atalanta vs Rakow
With their attacking style, Gasperini's lads should be able to handle a side that is substantially lower in ranking. Rakow showed heroic performances in the Champions League qualifiers and started well in the domestic championship. Still, the guests are new to a tournament like the Europa League. I suspect that the Poles may clinch a few points at home, but a win in Bergamo in the first round is unlikely. My prediction is a victory for the blue-whites with a handicap of -1.5.
Goal Total Prediction
Atalanta, having scored eight goals in their last four matches, aims to make amends for the past weekend's disappointment. My bet is on Atalanta's total over 2.5 goals.
As the home side, Atalanta will take the initiative and attack more, which means they should win in corners with a handicap of -1.5.
Yellow Cards Prediction
Rakow, being outclassed by the opposition, will be forced to foul more, which leads me to believe they will edge out their hosts in yellow cards.
My bet is on an exact score of 3:1 in favour of Atalanta.