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Ranking potential Europa League finals as Bayer Leverkusen, Roma, Atalanta and Marseille advance

The final four teams are officially locked in for the UEFA Europa League with a handful of surprise contenders in the fray as a new oddsmakers’ favorite takes center stage.

Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten season continued on Thursday with a 3-1 aggregate win over West Ham, becoming the leading candidate to win this season’s competition in the process. Roma, meanwhile, won by the same aggregate score against AC Milan and fellow Italian side Atalanta completed their upset over Liverpool. Marseille were the last to join the group after ousting Benfica on penalty kicks.

This is a group of semifinalists that might have been hard to predict earlier on this season, but each has made their case to be in the final four and bring their own intriguing storylines as they make a deep run in the Europa League. It sets up for some fascinating potential finals, some more eye-popping than others.

Here’s a ranking of the possible Europa League finales as all four teams begin to eye a ticket to Dublin.

4. Atalanta vs. Roma

This might be the matchup that has the least star power attached to it, but it has its argument as an all-Italian final. The pair tied 1-1 in their first meeting in Serie A this season and would play each other for a second time in the league just 10 days before the Europa League final, which would be the first time Roma face them since Daniele De Rossi took over. The legendary player, who will stay on as coach, has reinvigorated Roma since coming on, which makes them a fascinating team to follow as the competition wraps up. As for Atalanta, their steady rise over the last few years has been fun to watch and a trip to the final offers the perk of a new team finding a place amongst Europe’s elite.

3. Marseille vs. Roma

This would be a fun showcase between two storied teams who may have had insignificant domestic campaigns but turned things on in European action. Both sides are also staffed with some stars who have not been amongst the continent’s elites for some time but do not lack for quality. Look no further than Marseille’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Roma’s Romelu Lukaku, who lead the tournament’s scoring charts with 10 and seven goals, respectively.

2. Marseille vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Leverkusen are the darlings of this season across Europe, so a final with them in the mix is the best-case scenario regardless of opponent. The club does not have a major history of winning titles but are in the midst of a season to remember and could still win the treble and finish the season unbeaten. With the Bundesliga already wrapped up, the big question facing them at this point is if they can go all the way. Many will suspect they can, but an appearance in the final will keep the feel-good story going.

1. Atalanta vs. Bayer Leverkusen

This would be a final between two teams at different stages of an upward trajectory but are without a doubt climbing up the ladder in the uber-competitive landscape of European soccer. It would be hard to believe either of these sides could be in a major European final a few years ago but after strong seasons, it would no longer be a huge surprise. It would not exactly be a fluke for them to be here, either — both teams have the potential to be consistent performers for years to come, even if a run to the Europa League final is unlikely again. This matchup would be a celebration of the fact that other teams can, in fact, break into the top ranks of the sport, which is a great advertisement for the Europa League.

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