The quarter-finals of the Europa League kick-offs tonight in Germany with Manchester United tussling against FC Copenhagen while Inter Milan battle Bayer Leverkusen.
The Red Devils who arrived Germany on Sunday beat Austrian side LASK 7-1 on aggregate to reach this stage of the competition while Danish team Copenhagen squeezed past Turkish champions Başakşehir 3-1 to reach their first ever European quarter-final – and first for any Danish team since 1997.
Inter Milan are buzzing under Antonio Conte and heavy favourites for the competition. The Serie A side defeated Getafe 2-0 on aggregate to qualify for the quarter finals while Leverkusen got the better of Ranger 4-1 on aggregate.
Team News and Possible line-ups
Manchester United probable XI: Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, Williams; Matić, Pogba; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial
Out: The Red Devils have a fit squad but Phil Jones is the only missing player with knee injury.
Copenhagen probable XI: Johansson; Varela, Nelsson, Bjelland, Boilesen; Stage, Zeca; Pep Biel, Wind, Falk; Kaufmann
Out: Santos (suspended), Sigurdsson (unspecified), Fischer (groin), Thomsen (unspecified).
Inter probable XI: Handanovič; Godín, De Vrij, Bastoni; D’Ambrosio, Barella, Brozović, Gagliardini, Young; Lautaro Martínez, Lukaku.
Out: Inter have only one worry as Vecino is out with a knee injury.
Leverkusen probable XI: Hrádecký; L Bender, S Bender, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Demirbay, Baumgartlinger; Bailey, Havertz, Diaby; Volland
Out: Amiri is quarantine and can’t be involved, Leverkusen’s Aránguiz is suspended after picking up a third booking of the UEFA Europa League campaign last time out. Bellarabi is doubtful.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær, United manager: “I used to play with Ståle Solbakken, he’s a good friend of mine – we’ve been in touch. We wished each other good luck [before the last matches] and said hope to see you in Germany.
‘They did their job, we did our job, so on to the next one. Ståle’s teams are always well organised and difficult to play against. Very talented young players with experience. It’s going to be a difficult one.”
Ståle Solbakken, Copenhagen coach: “United are big, big favorites. It’s about executing our game as [well] as possible, and obviously we have to take care of many of the aspects that Manchester United have to their game.
‘They are very fast and are good at counterattacking since [Bruno] Fernandes arrived. They also do very quick combinations around the box. It’s a lot of things to be scared about, but we just have to make sure that we follow the plan and see how far that brings us.”
Antonio Conte, Inter Milan coach: “Moving forward in Europe is very important and represents an opportunity to gain experience. I’m calm when I see the guys with this aggression, with this desire and determination. The squad is continuing to improve and we are becoming a tough team. I see everyone participating in the project, happy with what we do.”
Peter Bosz, Leverkusen coach: “Our playing philosophy is that we want to play attacking football, offensive football, attractive football, to score a lot of goals. That’s our vision. In general, Italian teams defend really well. On the other hand, Inter are a different team: they try to press high and build up from the back. They’re not playing long balls. It gives us a certain opportunity.”
Prediction: Man United 3-1 Copenhagen
Inter Milan 1-0 Leverkusen.