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Europa League | Group Stage
Oct 26, 2023 at 5.45pm UK
UPC-Arena
Atalanta logo

Sturm Graz
2 - 2
Atalanta

Prass (13'), Wlodarczyk (80' pen.)
Hierlander (45+7'), Kiteishvili (45+2')
Hierlander (52')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Muriel (34', 45+7' pen.)
Lookman (45+7'), Bakker (82')

Preview: Sturm Graz vs. Atalanta BC - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Sturm Graz and Atalanta BC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Atalanta BC will look to extend their perfect record in the Europa League group stage on Thursday, when they travel to Austria to take on Sturm Graz in the third round of fixtures.

The Italian outfit beat Rakow Czestochowa and Sporting Lisbon in their first two outings, while their hosts sit on three points thanks to a victory of their own over the former last time out.


Match preview

Sturm Graz players celebrate winning the Austrian Cup on April 30, 2023© Reuters

Following their second-placed finish in the 2022-23 Austrian Bundesliga, Sturm Graz began their latest continental campaign in the third round of Champions League qualifying, but they were unable to advance into Europe's premier competition, suffering a 7-2 aggregate defeat at the hands of PSV Eindhoven and dropping into the Europa League group stage as a result.

Die Schwoazn began with a tough test at home to Sporting Lisbon, and they went ahead on the hour mark through William Boving, only to eventually come away empty-handed as Viktor Gyokeres levelled the scores and Ousmane Diomande netted the winning goal for their Portuguese visitors six minutes from time.

Christian Ilzer's side then travelled to Poland to take on Rakow Czestochowa in their second group outing with the aim of getting their points tally up and running, and they would come out on top having stood strong on that occasion for a 1-0 triumph after Boving again put them ahead.

Since then, Die Schwoazn have scored back-to-back victories to move to the top of the Austrian Bundesliga table, most recently beating Hartberg 2-1 at the weekend following the recent international break as Seedy Jatta and Alexander Prass scored first-half goals to turn the game around and seal their eighth top-flight win of the campaign.

With confidence to take from that result on their return to action, Sturm Graz will now aim to make it back-to-back group wins on Thursday to move level with their visitors in the fight for round-of-16 qualification.

Atalanta's Ederson celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on September 21, 2023© Reuters

They welcome an Atalanta side who will aim to make it three wins from three in their group campaign, having fallen short of Champions League qualification and instead earned automatic entry into the group stage of Europe's secondary competition with their fifth-placed finish in Serie A last season.

With their sights set on going deep into the tournament, Gian Piero Gasperini's side began at home to Rakow Czestochowa in September, and after a goalless first half, they were able to come away with all three points as Charles de Ketelaere and Ederson fired them to a 2-0 triumph.

A tough trip to Sporting Lisbon then followed in the second round of fixtures, and La Dea prevailed in impressive fashion in the Portuguese capital, going 2-0 up through Giorgio Scalvini and Matteo Ruggeri and holding on after Viktor Gyokeres pulled one back for their hosts 14 minutes from time.

A trip to Lazio then followed in Serie A prior to the recent international break, and despite drawing level through Ederson and Sead Kolasinac, La Dea eventually succumbed to a 3-2 defeat, before marking their return to action with a 2-0 home triumph over Genoa at the weekend, as Ademola Lookman opened the scoring in the 68th minute and Ederson added a second in the dying embers.

Such a result saw Gasperini's men move within a point of the top four after nine Serie A outings, and they will now turn their focus back to the continent with the aim of taking a step closer to the Europa League knockout and extending their lead at the top of the group with another win.

Sturm Graz Europa League form:


Sturm Graz form (all competitions):


Atalanta BC Europa League form:


Atalanta BC form (all competitions):



Team News

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini acknowledges fans after the match on September 21, 2023© Reuters

Christian Ilzer should field a similar Sturm Graz starting XI to the one that featured in their 2-1 victory over Hartberg at the weekend, with Seedy Jatta likely to again feature up front from the outset after marking his first start for the club with a goal and an assist in that win after arriving from Valerenga in August.

He could be joined by Szymon Wlodarczyk, who was reduced to a substitute appearance on Saturday, despite leading their scoring charts with seven goals in 17 appearances in all competitions so far this term, while William Boving, who found the net in each of their first two Europa League group games, missed the Hartberg game and could again be absent on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Jon Gorenc Stankovic will continue to play a key role in the midfield, likely alongside Dimitri Lavalee or Stefan Hierlander, while David Affengruber and Gregory Wuthrich will again partner up in the middle of the defence.

Atalanta will also line up in a similar setup from their league victory at the weekend, with midfielder Teun Koopmeiners remaining the only notable absentee and Marten de Roon bound to again join danger man Ederson in a midfield duo in his absence.

Ederson has netted four goals so far this season, including in their last two Serie A outings and their Europa League curtain-raiser, and he will lend support to a front three with Gianluca Scamacca set to lead the line alongside Ademola Lookman and Charles De Ketelaere.

After their clean sheet against Genoa on Sunday, Rafael Toloi, Berat Djimsiti and Giorgio Scalvini should all keep their places in a back three, while former Arsenal man Sead Kolasinac will push to come in on the left-hand side of the 3-4-3 shape after Matteo Ruggeri has been given the nod recently, notably in their trip to Sporting Lisbon in which he netted La Dea's second goal.


Sturm Graz possible starting lineup:
Scherpen; Gazibegovic, Affengruber, Wuthrich, Schnegg; Stankovic, Hierlander; Prass, Kiteishvili; Jatta, Wlodarczyk

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Carnesecchi; Toloi, Djimsiti, Scalvini; Zappacosta, De Roon, Ederson, Ruggeri; De Ketelaere, Scamacca, Lookman


SM words green background

We say: Sturm Graz 1-2 Atalanta BC

Atalanta face a tough test in Austria on Thursday, but they have continuously showed their attacking ability across all competitions this term and we fancy them to come out on top in an intriguing encounter with arguably more quality all over the pitch than their hosts possess.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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Game History

How you voted: Sturm Graz vs Atalanta

Sturm Graz
21.8%
Draw
11.5%
Atalanta BC
66.7%
78
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