Welcome everyone to the knock out stage of the Europa League. Inter in this match will take on Austrian side Rapid Wein in the first round of eliminations. Inter got in the Europa League after being knocked out of the Champions League after finishing third in the group stage despite being even on points with Tottenham Spurs won on goal difference. Rapid came in second in the group stages of Europa League with a record of 3-1-2 with ten points. Rapid have been in sixteen Champions League matches and in twenty five Europa League matches. Inter back in 1990/91 eliminated Rapid from the Europa League. But overall Rapid have won three Uefa Europa League titles.
Inter currently sit in third place in Serie A. Inter have not been in the Europa League since the 2016-17 season where they failed to qualify for any tournament matches. Inter have been having on and off performances has of late. They have drawn two, lost 2 and recently won their first match of 2019 against Parma. Overall Inter against Austrian sides they have a great record of 8-1-5. But against Rapid however they have a record of 5-1-4 which is a average one. Defensively as of late have been hit and miss. In some areas they tend to leave gaps allowing their opponents room to score while other times it seems to be rock solid where the opposition is stuck at a stand still. The strongest players on the defense are Devrij and Skriniar they work well together in the middle. Skriniar however is good in both a defensive roll but will step up on offense as he as been known to take chances and occasionally score. Offensive wise in their last match against Parma they did a slightly better job finishing chances. This is small improvements since their past four matches. Martinez as been a really strong goal scorer as a substitute but if given a starting roll he could be a major threat. Also Perisic showed life as well along with Icardi but they really need to step it up as this is the only title left that they can win this season so them scoring is a huge thing. The key factor for them will be Martinez he is a proven goal scorer and is strong in and out of the box if Rapid don’t contain him he will cause them issues.
Rapid are one of the most successful clubs in Austria with thirty two titles. But they haven’t won any titles since the 2007-08 season. Currently they sit in eighth place which isn’t there best campaign. Rapid don’t have a great record against Serie A sides they have a record of 2-5-14 which isn’t great but against Inter however they have more success. Some of their best players are Christoph Knasmuller who is their top goal scorer with seven goals so far this season. He is really good both in out of the box. He will take chances often and try to cut through Inter’s defense to get those chances. But the player who does all these things but is overall their top player with four goals and six assist is Thomas Murg who if Inter do not contain him he will run circles around them and can be the first win of two to knockout Inter from the Europa League.
The bottom line
In this match Inter will need to make sure they isolate Murg who is Rapid’s strongest player. They will also need to make sure to finish their scoring chances and maintain possession of the ball. On the defensive side of things they will need to tighten the gaps to not allow Rapid to get any room to get chances of their own. Rapid however will need to keep Martinez isolated because he is one of Inter’s strongest forwards along with Icardi. They also need to make sure to keep the ball as well as Inter are good at stealing the ball and keeping hold of it as well. This match can go either way but record wise Rapid have the slight edge but going into this match Inter will be the clear favorites but based on their recent run of form an upset isn’t out of the question. How they play in the first leg could determine everything keeping some away goals could be huge.
Inter projected XI4-2-3-1
Def Asomah, Devrij, Skriniar, D’Ambrosio
Def mid Brozovic and Vecino
Att mid Perisic, Martinez, Candreva
Rapid Wien projected XI4-3-3
Def Auer, Dibon, Thurnwald, Muldur
Def mid Ivan, Murg, Schwab
Att Berisha, Kostic, Alar
Stadium Allianz Stadion
Place Wein Austria
Date February 14th
Time 11:55am USA 5:55pm Uk 6:55pm Italy