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Gary Lineker predicted he would 'curse' Bayer Leverkusen before Europa League final defeat to Atalanta

Gary Lineker predicted he would 'curse' Bayer Leverkusen before Europa League final defeat to Atalanta

The former Spurs and Leicester striker spoke to BILD ahead of kick-off.

Gary Lineker joked he would be Bayer Leverkusen's curse ahead of their Europa League final clash against Atalanta.

Coming into Wednesday night's clash in Dublin, Leverkusen held the longest unbeaten run in European football history after going 51 games unbeaten under Xabi Alonso.

They also celebrated winning their first ever Bundesliga title with five games remaining after a 5-0 win over Werder Bremen.

But on Wednesday night – after going 361 days without defeat – the German side were beaten convincingly by Gian Piero Gasperini's Atalanta at the Aviva Stadium.

Ademola Lookman netted a superb hat-trick for the Italian club as they lifted their first ever European trophy.

Gasperini said they deserved it "without a shadow of a doubt" in his post-match assessment of the game. “I think we are in history, but the way we won was extraordinary," he added.

Ahead of kick-off, many tipped Leverkusen as favourites after going unbeaten, including Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, who spoke to BILD outside the stadium.

"I don't know. Leverkusen haven't lost a game all season so, probably the first time that I come here they'll lose!" he said. "I think it's quite even but Leverkusen have to be favourites."

Lineker was also asked to give his thoughts on Xabi Alonso's achievements this season.

"I think it's extraordinary," he added. "They are two games away from footballing immortality. It will be a feat beyond comprehension."

After the full-time whistle, Lineker reacted to Atalanta's triumph.

"Congratulations to Atalanta on their very special victory and particularly to Ademola Lookman on his quite brilliant hattrick," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "It was as a pleasure to be in Dublin to witness it. Well played."

Bundesliga champions Leverkusen will be hoping to bounce back from Wednesday's defeat with a victory over FC Kaiserslautern in the DFB-Pokal final on May 25.

Featured Image Credit: X/@BILD_Bayer04

Topics: Gary Lineker, Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen, Atalanta