The Round of 16 in the UEFA Europa League unfolds over the next two Thursdays, so before the action kicks off around Europe on Thursday afternoon, we thought we would preview the eight matchups of the round.
Up next, we’re going to take a look at the matchup between German club Eintracht Frankfurt and Italian club Inter Milan. Their leg one match kicks off from Waldstadion in Frankfurt, Germany on Thursday 7 March at 5:55pm GMT (12:55pm EST).
What Happened in the Round of 32
Eintracht Frankfurt faced off against our favorite Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, overcoming the draw in leg one by winning 4-1 once the action returned to Germany, advancing 6-3 on aggregate. The six goals were scored by five different players, with Sébastien Haller scoring twice in the leg two triumph.
Inter had an easier go of things in their Round of 32 matchup, facing off against perhaps the weakest team in the field in Rapid Wien. After a 1-0 victory in Vienna, the clubs returned to Milan, with Inter cruising to a dominant 4-0 victory, advancing 5-0 on aggregate.
What the Experts are Saying
Before the Round of 16 draw, Inter had about a 63% chance of advancing to the quarterfinals, while Eintracht had a 49% chance. After the draw, those chances shifted by to 61% for Inter and 39% for Eintracht, so this was probably not the best draw for the Germans.
Thanks to some league play in the interim, Eintracht has improved these advancement odds to… 42%, so not a whole lot better. They are currently 5th in the Bundesliga, and are in the midst of a seven match unbeaten streak (3-4-0) in league play. Whether wins against lower-table clubs in Germany mean anything against one of the preeminent clubs in Europe remains to be seen.
What We’re Thinking
Leg one couldn’t be any more even for these clubs, with the simulations at FiveThirtyEight giving Eintracht a slight edge in their home match of the round (39% to 35%; 26% chance of a draw). As much as I want to see Eintracht pay for their dismissal of by beloved Shakhtar Donetsk, I have to cheer on German clubs where I can in this tournament, so I’m hoping that they can come out on top here. Thursday’s home match will go a long way to improving their odds of advancing.
Until next time…