DÜSSELDORF - Here we go! The wait for our Europa League quarter-final against Bayer Leverkusen is very nearly over: this evening at 21:00 CEST, Inter take to the pitch at the Düsseldorf Arena in pursuit of a place in the Europa League semi-finals. The game will be played behind closed doors and will be a one-legged knockout tie: in the event of a draw, the game will go to extra time and then penalties.
Tonight's match will be the third meeting between Inter and Bayer Leverkusen: in the group stage of the 2002/03 Champions League, Inter ran out 3-2 winners at San Siro and came away with a 2-0 victory at the BayArena in Leverkusen. More on this here.
Inter have faced a German team on 50 occasions, with these matches having played a significant role in the Nerazzurri’s history in European competition. Inter’s record from these games reads as follows: 23 wins, nine draws and 18 defeats. The first of these was the biggest win that Inter have recorded against German opposition: 8-2 against Hannover in 1960.
THE EUROPA LEAGUE DRAW
Inter and Bayer Leverkusen will be facing each other at the quarter-final stage, with the winners of this evening's clash set to take on either Shakhtar Donetsk or FC Basel in the semis. On the other side of the draw, the two quarter-final fixtures are Sevilla vs. Wolverhampton and Manchester United vs. Copenhagen.
Should Inter make it through, their semi-final showdown would take place in Düsseldorf at 21:00 CEST on 17 August.
“We need to be positive: we’re working hard towards the ultimate objective. From here on we’ll have to prove on the pitch that we deserve to go all the way. We don’t want to have any regrets, we’ll have to give everything: if everything is enough to get to the semi-finals, final, or even to lift the trophy then we’ll be happy, otherwise we’ll finish up wherever we deserve to finish. I’ll repeat: what’s important is that we don’t have any regrets.”
On Sunday afternoon, the Nerazzurri put the finishing touches to their preparations at the Düsseldorf Arena. Coach Antonio Conte also got involved as the Nerazzurri players warmed up through rondos.
ALL BOOKINGS WIPED AND JUST ONE PLAYER SUSPENDED
Starting from the quarter-finals, all bookings received up to this point have been wiped. However, those going into the last-eight ties suspended will remain so. Inter won't have any players out through suspension, while Bayer Leverkusen will have to make do without the Chilean Aranguiz.
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande (ESP).
Assistants: Yuste, Alonso Fernandez.
Fourth Official: Gil Manzano.
VAR and Assistant VAR: Sanchez.
Games will take place as single-legged ties: in case of a draw after 90 minutes, extra time and, if required, penalties will be played.
Teams may make up to five substitutions, but only in three separate blocks. Changes made at half-time or in the half-time of extra time will not be counted as one of the three blocks. One extra substitution may be made during extra time.
Furthermore, squad sizes have been increased to 23 players from their usual 18.