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 is the match between Italian club Inter Milan, who has the pleasure of hosting German club Eintracht Frankfurt. The game kicks off from San Siro in Milan, Italy on 14 March 2019 at 8:00pm GMT (4:00pm EST).
What Happened in Leg 1
This matchup was the only one last week that did not have a goal scored, and the stars of the match were truly the keepers. In the first half, Eintracht keeper Kevin Trapp managed to turn away a Marcelo Brozović penalty kick, preserving the scoreless game in the 22nd minute. In the second half, Inter keeper Samir Handanović spent the last 20 minutes turning away shot after shot, including a short stretch where Eintracht defender Martin Hinteregger got three great shots on goal that all ended up being turned back.
Overall, Eintracht led with 17 attempts on goal, though only seven were on target. Inter wasn’t much more accurate, with only four of their ten attempts on target. Otherwise, the clubs were fairly even, with the German squad winning the possession battle 53% to 47%. Passes attempted and completed were equal as well, and both clubs received three yellow cards each, which will also impact the lineups in Thursday’s match.
What the Experts are Saying
This is the closest match of all second leg matches on Thursday, with Inter only favored to advance 52% of time in FiveThirtyEight simulations. However, since Eintracht can advance on a non-scoreless draw, they have the upper hand in the match, with a 25% chance to win, but a 26% chance to draw. Combined, this gives them the slight edge over host Inter, who is still favored to win the match outright at 49%.
What We’re Thinking
Despite the ease of Eintracht Frankfurt’s path to advancement, I think Inter will use the home crowd to their advantage and score early, forcing eintracht to play from behind to get even or go ahead. Inter will be without two suspended players – Kwadwo Asamoah and Lautaro Martinez are suspended after reaching the card limit in leg one – but Eintracht will be without captain Gélson Fernandes, who is suspended for the same reason.
Inter strikes me as a deeper club, as their performance in Serie A this season has shown, and they managed to win their Round of 32 home match 4-0 (albeit against a much weaker Rapid Wien squad), and have only lost twice at home all season (and not in European competition).
This will definitely be one of the matches to watch on Thursday.
Until next time…