Michy Batshuay's late winner gave Dortmund a 3-2 advantage to take to Italy, but Atalanta's fine autumn form means they will have every hope of turning the tie round.
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Atalanta will need to maintain their perfect UEFA Europa League record in Reggio Emilia this season if they are to advance at the expense of Borussia Dortmund. The German side won the first leg of this round of 32 tie 3-2 to record their first European victory of the season at the seventh attempt, subjecting their opponents to a first defeat.
• The Italian side, appearing in only their fifth UEFA campaign, were the more impressive of the two teams during the autumn, topping Group E undefeated, while experienced continental campaigners Dortmund finished third in their UEFA Champions League section, behind Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid, with just two points.
• A see-saw first leg in Dortmund ended with victory to the home side, January recruit Michy Batshuayi scoring the winning goal in stoppage time – his second of the evening – after Slovenian international Josip Iličić had scored twice early in the second half to put Atalanta in front following André Schürrle's early strike.
• Atalanta's only previous tie against German opponents came in 1990/91 – their most recent European campaign until this one – when they ousted Köln 2-1 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup third round (1-1 away, 1-0 home).
• Dortmund have faced Italian opposition on 32 occasions, with their record W11 D4 L17. The first leg of this tie was their only meeting to date with a Serie A side in the UEFA Europa League, but their last UEFA Cup tie against a team from Italy resulted in a penalty shoot-out defeat to Udinese in the 2008/09 first round after both clubs had won 2-0 away.
• Dortmund's overall UEFA Cup record against Italian opposition in two-legged knockout ties is W3 L4. The losses include a 6-1 aggregate defeat by Juventus in the 1992/93 final.
• The German's club's knockout record against Serie A sides in UEFA competition overall is W3 L8. Their most recent tie was a 5-1 aggregate loss against Juve in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (1-2 away, 0-3 home).
• Atalanta have won all three of their European home fixtures this season, scoring seven goals and conceding one. They are yet to be beaten in eight UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League matches on home soil (W5 D3) and have conceded just two goals over that stretch.
• One of only four teams who came through this season's UEFA Europa League group stage undefeated (W4 D2), Atalanta recorded their biggest away win in Europe on matchday five when they overcame Everton 5-1 at Goodison Park.
• Dortmund are without a victory in six European away matches (D2 L4) and have lost their last three knockout fixtures on the road – to Liverpool (3-4) in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals and to Benfica (0-1) and Monaco (1-3) in last season's UEFA Champions League.
• The German club registered just two points in their autumn UEFA Champions League campaign but managed to take third place in Group H on goal difference ahead of Cypriot club APOEL. It was the first time in 13 group campaigns in that competition that they failed to register a win.
• The Schwarzgelben reached the quarter-finals in their most recent UEFA Europa League adventure, in 2015/16, having defeated FC Porto 2-0 at home and 1-0 away in the round of 32. Their away record in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase is W2 L1.
• Fourth in Serie A last season, Atalanta are competing in Europe for the first time since 1990/91, when they were eliminated by Internazionale in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals.
• Dortmund qualified for this season's UEFA Champions League after finishing third in the 2016/17 Bundesliga. They also won the German Cup last term, defeating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 in the Berlin final.
• Atalanta have won two of the three European ties in which they lost the first away leg. All three instances occurred in the 1987/88 European Cup Winners' Cup, victories over Merthyr Tydfil (1-2 away, 2-0 home) and OFI Crete (0-1 away, 2-0 home) preceding a semi-final loss to Mechelen (1-2 away, 1-2 home).
• Dortmund have won 16 of the 17 UEFA competition ties in which they won the first home leg, including twice in their most recent UEFA Europa League campaign, in 2015/16, when they defeated Porto in the round of 32 (2-0 home, 1-0 away) and Tottenham in the last 16 (3-0 home, 2-1 away). The only exception came back in the 1987/88 UEFA Cup third round, when they lost 5-0 at Club Brugge after winning 3-0 at home. They have never previously won a first leg at home 3-2.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Musa Barrow, Dejan Kulusevski, Luca Rizzo
Out: Jasmin Kurtič, Riccardo Orsolini, Luca Vido
In: Michy Batshuayi, Marco Reus, Jadon Sancho
Out: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Eike Bansen, Marc Bartra, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Till Schumacher, Janni-Luca Serra, Neven Subotić
Links and trivia
• Atalanta defender Robin Gosens is German, but he has never played in the Bundesliga.
• Sokratis Papastathopoulos represented Genoa (2008–10) and Milan (2010/11) in Serie A; at Genoa he was coached by current Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini.
• Dortmund's Roman Bürki and Atalanta's Remo Freuler are international team-mates for Switzerland.
• Mario Götze (Germany) and Shinji Kagawa (Japan) have both scored international goals against Italy.
• New Dortmund coach Peter Stöger was in charge of Köln in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage, leaving before matchday six.
• No German or Italian club has ever reached a UEFA Europa League final.
• Dortmund's Julian Weigl serves a one-match ban.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Andrea Masiello, Josip Iličić, Hans Hateboer, Bryan Cristante (Atalanta)
• Atalanta have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.
• Dortmund's record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L2:
6-5 v Auxerre, 1992/93 UEFA Cup semi-final
3-1 v Rangers, 1999/2000 UEFA Cup third round
2-4 v Club Brugge, 2003/04 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
3-4 v Udinese, 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round
• A one-time Juventus youth player, Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini mostly played in Italy's lower divisions but worked his way up to the top tier as a coach, leading Inter, Genoa and Palermo before taking his current job in 2016. He led the Bergamo outfit to fourth place in Serie A last term, bringing European qualification for the first time in 27 years.
• Peter Stöger was appointed to replace Peter Bosz as Dortmund coach on 10 December 2017 – a week after he was dismissed by Köln, where he had been in charge for four and a half years. A four-time league champion as a player in his native Austria, with 65 international caps, he moved to Germany after steering Austria Wien to the 2012/13 title.