Inter Milan will lock horns with Getafe in the one-legged UEFA Europa League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday, at the Veltins Arena.
After missing out on Serie A title by just a point, Inter Milan will be looking to make a mark in the UEFA Europa League when they face Getafe on Wednesday. This Round of 16 fixture was initially scheduled five months earlier but had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic that halted football for three months.
It means there won’t be any two legs in this encounter and the match will be played in a neutral stadium – this time, at the Veltins Arena in Germany, which is the home of FC Schalke 04. Inter Milan are the favourites heading into this game, having ended their Serie A campaign on a strong note, despite missing out on the league title.
Getafe, meanwhile, have been one of the most disappointing teams in Spain, of late. The club registered only one victory in La Liga since the restart – a poor run of form that saw them finish the campaign in eighth place, thus missing out on European football for next season.
The Azulones, however, did defeat competitive favourites Ajax to reach the Round of 16 stage and manager Jose Bordalas will be looking to gain some inspiration from that result as the Spanish outfit look to cause yet another upset in the Europa League this week.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will be taking a look at both these sides ahead of this intriguing knockout round fixture at Veltins Arena on Wednesday.
Tactics & Team News
Antonio Conte is sure to miss out on the services of Matias Vecino heading into this fixture. However, the Italian may have Stefano Sensi back in contention. They have also called up midfielder Lucien Agoume for the trip to Gelsenkirchen.
Little does it matter, though, with Conte likely to start with Marcelo Brozovic in central midfield. The Croatian is set to partner Nicolo Barella in the double-pivot, with the Italian starting ahead of Borja Valero, Agoume and Roberto Gagliardini.
They will be provided additional support by Christian Eriksen, who might return to the side after being benched against Atalanta. However, Alexis Sanchez is another option and coach Conte might utilise the qualities of the Chilean international later in the game.
There might be one change in the wing-back slots, with Antonio Candreva replacing Danilo D’Ambrosio on the right flank. Ashley Young is pretty much guaranteed to get the nod ahead of Cristiano Biraghi on the opposite flank.
In defence, Conte might prefer the experience of Diego Godin ahead of the young Alessandro Bastoni. The Uruguayan international should accompany Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij in the back three, starting just in front of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.
And finally, the Inter Milan attack will be led by the productive duo of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez. Sanchez, as mentioned earlier, is also an option.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Handanovic; Godin, de Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva, Brozovic, Barella, Young; Eriksen; Lukaku, Martinez
Bordalas doesn’t have any fresh injuries to deal with heading into this fixture. However, he will miss out on the services of Erick Cabaco due to ineligibility while Peter Etebo is also unavailable due to contractual complications. Filip Manojlovic is the only player out injured for the Spanish side.
Getafe is more than likely to stick to their trusted 4-4-2 setup, with topscorers Jaime Mata and Angel Rodriguez spearheading the attack. Jorge Molina is another option Bordalas could utilise should he look for more experience.
In the 4-4-2, the second bank of four could be important in preventing the likes of Eriksen, Brozovic and Barella from dominating the game. And that is where the compactness of midfield duo Mauro Arambarri and Nemanja Maksimovic could come in handy. They will be provided additional support by Marc Cucurella and Jason, operating in the wider roles.
And finally, in defence, Bordalas has no reason to shift from his trusted combination of Damian Suarez, Djene Dakonam, David Timor and Mathias Olivera. Djene and Timor are their main central defenders and their presence at the heart of Getafe’s four-man backline could be as important as goalkeeper David Soria.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Soria; Suarez, Djene, Timor, Oliviera; Jason, Maksimovic, Arambarri, Cucurella; Rodriguez, Mata
- Inter Milan have never won in Gelsenkirchen, where their record is D1 L2, all three matches against Schalke. Their most recent visit ended in a 2-1 loss in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg, completing a 7-3 aggregate reverse.
- Getafe finished fifth in the 2018/19 Spanish La Liga, narrowly missing out on a guaranteed UEFA Champions League berth. Instead, they are in the UEFA Europa League for the second time, their 2010/11 debut having ended at the group stage with seven points and a third-placed finish behind Stuttgart and Young Boys
- Getafe reached the knockout phase of a European competition for only the second time this season thanks to two victories apiece against Trabzonspor and Krasnodar in Group C. That put them one point behind group winners Basel, who beat them twice.
- Victory over Ludogorets took Inter into the UEFA Europa League round of 16 for the fourth time, but they have lost all three of their previous ties in this round of the competition, falling to Tottenham, after extra time, in 2012/13 (0-3 a, 4-1 h), Wolfsburg in 2014/15 (1-3 a, 1-2 h) and Frankfurt in 2018/19 (0-0 a, 0-1 h).
- Getafe captain Jorge Molina’s goal against Krasnodar on Matchday 6 made him, at 37 years and 234 days, the fifth oldest scorer in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final.
Player to Watch
Sanchez has become a subject of major transfer speculation and it doesn’t come as a surprise either. He is one of the most in-form players Inter Milan at the moment and the Italian giants will be keen on retaining his services on a permanent basis. In fact, the attacker is reportedly closing in on a permanent switch from Manchester United this week.
Although unlikely to start, Sanchez could play a crucial role in this fixture with his ability to bomb forward and provide the dynamism and flair in the final third. Besides, his experience of playing against Getafe, during his time at Barcelona, could also come in handy as Inter look to seal this tie.
In fact, Sanchez has scored four goals in five La Liga games against Getafe. And the Chilean will, no doubt, be looking to boost that record further when the two teams meet at Veltins Arena on Wednesday.
Inter Milan 2-0 Getafe
The outcome of this fixture could solely depend on the contrasting form of these two teams heading into this game. As iterated earlier, Inter Milan have been in sublime run and their individual quality, as well as a solid backline, should help them seal this tie quite comfortably against their struggling Spanish opponents.