Atalanta in dreamland: How club with a budget like Burnley’s reached Champions League

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As Atalanta prepare for their first ever test in the Champions League in their 112-year history, most of the club’s fans are still dreaming. Atalanta, who have been relegated from Serie A three times in the 21st century, have defied the odds to rise to Europe’s top table ahead of their Champions League bow away at Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday night.It has been quite the journey for the small club based in Bergamo, a city nestled by the Alps in northern Italy, and one that will live long in the memory of Italian football. It is one of the ultimate tales of the underdog. Atalanta take on Dinamo Zagreb in their first ever Champions League match on Wednesday  Since his appointment in 2016, manager Gian Piero Gasperini has led an Atalanta revolutionAtalanta were relegated from Serie A back in 2003, 2005 and 2010 and had then failed to finish in the top 10 before Gian Piero Gasperini was appointed manager in the summer of 2016 after leaving Genoa.Here is where their journey really started. The managerial appointment was seen as a sideways step for Gasperini but no one expected what would come next.Early in his career at Atalanta, Gasperini had lost four of his opening five matches in charge and there were fears that he would be sacked – just like he had been at Italian giants Inter Milan back in 2011.A second immediate dismissal was looming and later down the line, the manager even revealed: ‘I was on the verge of being sacked, it’s true.’ But after making some drastic change

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