Serie A: Bologna ends 59-year wait for Champions League participation

Radio Univers
Radio Univers
4 Min Read

The city of Bologna burst into a frenzy of jubilation as their cherished football club, Bologna FC, secured a long-awaited qualification to the UEFA Champions League, marking a historic landmark in their storied history. For the first time in 59 years, the red-and-blue faithfuls will witness their team competing among Europe’s elite clubs, a feat they have been unable to achieve since their last appearance in the 1964/1965 preliminary round; the same year they won the last of their seven league titles.

After beating last season’s Scudetto winners SSC Napoli 2-0 on Saturday, Thiago Motta’s men needed favorable results elsewhere to qualify for Champions League football, and thanks to Atalanta who grabbed a hefty leap towards Champions League football on Sunday by beating Serie A top-five rivals A.S Roma 2-1, thereby giving automatic qualification to 3rd place Bologna and 4th place Juventus, who are seven points ahead of 6th place, Roma, with two rounds of fixtures remaining.

Bologna FC placed 9th in the 2022/2023 Serie A season with just 2 points shy of 8th place Fiorentina, who took the Europa Conference League slot as Juventus were booted out of the Conference League when the Old Ladies were banned from European competition for a year due to violating UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

The Thiago Motta effect
Thiago Motta was appointed as FC Bologna’s new head coach in September 2022 and since then, the former FC Barcelona academy graduate has transformed Bologna from being a mid-table team to a Champions League team.

In his debut season as a head coach at the red-and-blue club, the 41-year-old Italian was able to secure 9th position, a height the club has never achieved since they got promoted from Seria B in the 2015/2016 season.

In his second tenure, the gaffer has finally ended the club’s 59-year wait for Champions League action in what has been an impressive season for the red-and-blue’s.

Individual brilliance

Ricardo Orsolini

Ricardi Orsolini finally found his feet in Seria A after his transfer from Juventus to Bologna in 2019. The 27-year-old Italian has been in red-hot form since the arrival of Thiago Motta. The Italian International netted 11 goals with 4 assists to his name in the 2022/23 campaign. After battling with a muscle injury, the Italian forward has scored 10 goals with 2 assists, including a brace in his sides’ remarkable 4-0 win over Lecce.

Joshua Zirkzee

Zirkzee has been the discovery of the season for Bologna thus far. The 22-year-old Dutch has scored 11 goals with 4 assists to his name in his debut season for Bologna. Zirkzee has been important in keeping his team in their Champions League quest with his clinical touch. The 22-year-old Dutch center-forward remains the club’s top scorer in Serie A this season with just two games to end the current campaign.

With uncertainty around his future as his contract is set to expire in June 2024, will Thiago Motta renew his contract with Bologna and lead the red-and-blue to their 8th Serie A title? only time will tell.


Story by: Rabbi Adu Agyei|

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