Inter Milan and Bayer Leverkusen face off in the Europa League quarter-final at the Merkur Spiel-Arena on Monday night.
Antonio Conte’s side are contesting their first European quarter-final in nine years and they will go into the game with confidence, having won four successive games across all competitions. They recently beat Getafe 2-0 in the one-legged round of 16 tie.
Leverkusen, meanwhile, are playing in the last eight of a European competition for the first time since the 2007/2008 UEFA Cup. The Bundesliga outfit cruised past Rangers in the round of 16 with a 4-1 aggregate win. They registered a 1-0 victory in the second leg at home last week.
Unlike in the regular season, the quarter-final and semi-final stages of the competition will include single-elimination games rather than double-legged ties. This was announced by UEFA primarily due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Inter, who are one of the favourites to reach the final, are aiming to win their first piece of silverware since 2012. Leverkusen, meanwhile, have not won any trophy in 27 years. It remains to be seen whether they can keep their title hopes alive by beating the Nerazzurri.
Players to watch out for:
Romelu Lukaku – Inter Milan:
The Belgium international has been a constant presence in the frontline alongside Lautaro Martinez. Over the course of his debut season, he has registered 30 goals and five assists from 48 appearances and has been the club’s most influential player . In knockout games, there are often fine margins between victory and defeat, and a player with strong finishing qualities could make the difference on the day. Lukaku scored the opening goal in the 2-0 win over Getafe and will remain the potent threat to Leverkusen’s backline.
Kai Havertz – Bayer Leverkusen:
The German has hugely impressed for Leverkusen this term with 17 goals and nine assists across all competitions and has played almost everywhere in the attack including the striker’s role. He has three goals and two assists from four Europa League games and will need to produce a standout performance for Leverkusen to outwit the Nerazzurri. He appears likely to pursue a fresh challenge next season, but prior to that, he has the chance to fire them to European success and etch his name into the club’s history books.
Inter have several creative players in the squad and they should be able to progress to the final four of the competition. While Lukaku and Martinez are the main strikers, they have experienced attackers such as Alexis Sanchez and Christian Eriksen, who can make key goalscoring contributions.
Inter Milan 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen
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