MONTE-CARLO – The 2019/2020 UEFA Champions League draw has placed Inter in Group F alongside Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Slavia Prague. Another clash against Barcelona awaits for the Nerazzurri, who met the Blaugrana in last year’s competition.
Barcelona, who are coached by Ernesto Valverde, qualified for the Champions League after winning the Spanish title in the 2018/2019 season. Over the course of the summer, the team from Catalonia have strengthened their squad through the signings of Frankie De Jong, Antoine Griezmann, Neto and Junior Firpo. Inter and Barcelona have met each other on twelve occasions, including twice last season (2-0 in Barcelona, 1-1 at San Siro). The Nerazzurri’s record against the Blaugrana reads as follows: two wins, four draws and six defeats. Inter’s last victory was in the first leg of the semi-final showdown in 2009/2010, with Sneijder, Maicon and Milito scoring in a 3-1 win at San Siro. This result meant that Barcelona’s 1-0 success in the return leg wasn’t enough, and the Nerazzurri went on to win the final against Bayern Munich. Barcelona have won five European Cups/Champions League titles throughout their history.
- Inter have played against Barcelona eight times in UEFA competitons and have remained unbeaten in all the home fixtures (one win, three draws), keeping a clean sheet in two of these.
- Together with Real Madrid, Barcelona are one of the two sides to have won the Champions League more than once since 2006.
- Barcelona have only reached the Champions League final once in the past eight seasons (2015) after being eliminated four times in the quarter-finals and three times in the semi-finals.
- Barcelona have progressed from the group stage the past 17 times they’ve been involved in the Champions League. The last time they didn’t manage to do this was in 2000/01 under the guidance of Llorenzo Serra Ferrer.
- Last season, Lionel Messi ended up as the top goalscorer (12 goals) in the Champions League for the sixth time and now sits just one behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who has achieved this feat seven times. Compared with the Portuguese man, Messi has scored 14 fewer goals (112 vs. 126) throughout the competition’s history.
- Barcelona have won 29 of their past 32 Champions League matches at Camp Nou (three draws): their last defeat on home soil came in May 2013 against Bayern Munich (0-3)
Inter are also set to come up against Borussia Dortmund, who took the fight for the German title to the last day last season, eventually finishing in second place. Over the summer, Lucien Favre’s side have brought back Mats Hummels and have further bolstered their squad through the signings of Thorgan Hazard, Nico Schulz, Julian Brandt and Paco Alcacer. And there was further joy for the Schwarzgelben earlier this summer as they beat Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup. As regards previous meetings, Inter and Borussia Dortmund have faced each other four times. The first two matches date back to the 1963/64 European Cup, when the two sides met in the semi-finals. The first leg in Dortmund ended in a 2-2 draw, with Inter’s goals coming through Mazzola and Corso, while the Nerazzurri defeated the German side 2-0 in the return fixture thanks to strikes from Mazzola and Jair. Inter thus made it to the final, where they emerged victorious against Real Madrid.
The other two meetings came in the 1993/94 UEFA Cup quarter-finals during the 1993/94 season. Inter won the first leg 3-1 in Germany thanks to goals from Jonk (2) and Shalmov, thus rendering their second-leg 2-1 defeat (Manicone scored for the Nerazzurri) immaterial.The Nerazzurri went on to win the UEFA Cup that campaign. Borussia Dortmund have won the Champions League once in their history, in 1997.
- Borussia Dortmund are taking part in the Champions League for the 14th time. Only Bayern Munich have appeared in Europe’s premier competition more times (23) among German clubs.
- No other player has scored more Champions League/European Cup goals than Marco Reus in Borussia Dormund’s history (17 – the same as Robert Lewandowski)
- Dortmund have only won four of their last 16 matches in the Champions League (three draws, nine defeats) and haven’t scored in four of their last five games in the competition
- Lucien Favre has won 50% (4/8) of the matches he’s been in charge of in the Champions League since becoming Dortmund’s Coach. Only Nevio Scala (60%) and Ottmar Hitzfeld (58%) can boast at having better win percentages with the Schwarzgelben.
Slavia Prague are the current Czech champions. Their league success meant that they qualified for the Champions League playoffs, during which they eliminated Cluj with 1-0 wins both home and away. Jindřich Trpišovský’s side have strengthened over the summer, bringing in Stanciu, Holes and Hovorka. The Nerazzurri will face their Czech counterparts for the very first time in a UEFA competition. The teams have, however, faced each other once in a double-header, in 1938 in the Mitropa Cup. Back then, it finished in a victory apiece (3-1 to Ambrosiana Inter and 9-0 to Slavia Prague).
- Slavia Prague are appearing in the Champions League for the second time and for the first time since the 2007/08 season. The Czech club qualified by beating CFR Club over two legs in their playoff showdown.
- Since 1992, Slavia Prague are only one of three Czech sides to have played in the Champions League. They’ve only played six times in the competition, behind both Sparta Prague (56) and Viktoria Plzen (18).
- Slavia Prague won the first match they played in the Champions League, a 2-1 home victory over Steaua Bucharest in 2007. They then went on to draw twice and lose three times that season.
- Slavia Prague’s 7-0 loss against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in October 2007 is the heaviest defeat suffered by a team from the Czech Republic in the Champions League since 1992.
Photo credit: UEFA