Internazionale's Lautaro Martínez scored the only goal of the first leg at Rapid Wien, leaving the Italian side well placed.
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Third-placed finishers in UEFA Champions League Group B, Internazionale have the opportunity to make amends in the UEFA Europa League, and the Serie A heavyweights are halfway towards the round of 16 having defeated Rapid Wien 1-0 in Vienna in the first leg.
• Inter lost out to Tottenham Hotspur on the head-to-head rule in the UEFA Champions League as they managed only a 1-1 draw at home to bottom club PSV Eindhoven on matchday six while Spurs recorded the same score at section winners Barcelona.
• Seven of Rapid's ten Group G points were claimed in their last three fixtures, with victories in the last two, at Spartak Moskva (2-1) and at home to Rangers (1-0), taking them through to the round of 32 – for only the second time – as runners-up behind Villarreal, who finished ahead of them thanks to a superior head-to-head record.
• It took a penalty, dispatched in the 39th minute by Inter's Argentinian forward Lautaro Martínez, to decide the first leg in Vienna.
• The clubs have been paired together just once before, in the 1990/91 UEFA Cup first round. Rapid won the home leg 2-1 but Inter claimed a 3-1 extra-time victory in the San Siro return thanks to Jürgen Klinsmann's aggregate winner and went on to lift the trophy for the first time. Jan Åge Fjørtoft's goal for Rapid in Milan was the only one Inter conceded in six home games during that triumphant campaign.
• That first-leg win against Inter was Rapid's last victory against Italian opposition, and one of only two in 22 fixtures (D5 L15). Since then their record is D3 L7, two of the draws having come in their most recent encounters, against Sassuolo in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League group stage (1-1 home, 2-2 away). They have never won in 11 visits to Italy (D2 L9).
• Inter are unbeaten in seven home fixtures against Austrian clubs, winning six, among them the second leg of the 1993/94 UEFA Cup final against Salzburg (1-0 for a 2-0 aggregate triumph). They have kept clean sheets in four of the last five, Fjørtoft’s goal in 1990 the only one they have conceded during that run.
• Fourth in Serie A in 2017/18, Inter qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2011/12. However, they ended a run of eight successive qualifications for the knockout phase by failing to build on two opening 2-1 victories at home to Tottenham and away to PSV, adding just two more points to their total in the final four matchdays and going down 1-0 to Spurs at Wembley in what proved a telling defeat.
• Inter's most recent European campaign came in 2016/17, when they failed to progress from their UEFA Europa League group. On their two previous participations in this competition, they not only got through their group but also won their round of 32 ties, defeating CFR Cluj in 2012/13 (2-0 home, 3-0 away) and Celtic in 2014/15 (3-3 away, 1-0 home).
• Three-time UEFA Cup winners (in 1991, 1994 and 1998), Inter are also the last Italian team to have been crowned champions of Europe, winning the UEFA Champions League in 2010 to add to previous triumphs in 1964 and 1965.
• The Nerazzurri are unbeaten in five European home games, although they have drawn their last two following three straight wins. In the UEFA Europa League, qualifying phase included, their record in Milan is W9 D4 L3.
• Inter have won 15 of the 16 UEFA competition ties in which they have triumphed away from home in the first leg, including four times by a 1-0 scoreline, the most recent that 1993/94 UEFA Cup final against Salzburg. Their only aggregate defeat came in the third round of the 1988/89 UEFA Cup against Bayern München, when a Nerazzurri side containing Lothar Mathäus and Andreas Brehme, both recently recruited from Bayern, followed a 2-0 win in Munich with a 1-3 defeat in Milan and exited on away goals.
• Third place in the 2017/18 Austrian Bundesliga earned Rapid a return to Europe after a year's absence and a place in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round, where they overcame Slovan Bratislava 5-2 on aggregate before eliminating FCSB in the play-offs to secure a seventh appearance in the group stage – one fewer than record-holders Salzburg.
• In five of those previous six group stage participations Rapid progressed no further. However, they ensured a second qualification this season despite taking just three points from their opening three games, the last of which was a 5-0 reverse at Villarreal.
• This is just the second time since 1995/96, when they reached the final of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, that Rapid have been involved in springtime European football. In 2015/16 they were eliminated from the UEFA Europa League round of 32 after a heavy defeat by Valencia (0-6 away, 0-4 home).
• Rapid's victory at Spartak on matchday five ended a run of five successive European away defeats. They have still won only two of their last 12 UEFA fixtures outside Austria, losing eight.
• On ten of the 11 previous occasions that Rapid have lost the first leg at home in a UEFA tie, including all four times with a 0-1 scoreline, they have been eliminated. The exception came in the second qualifying round of the 2004/05 UEFA Cup, when they won 3-0 at Rubin Kazan after a 0-2 defeat in Vienna.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Cédric Soares
Out: Šime Vrsaljko
In: Srdjan Grahovac, Leo Greiml, Ivan Močinić
Out: Jérémy Guillemenot, Christoph Haas, Aleksandar Kostić
Links and trivia
• Rapid's Christoph Knasmüllner joined Inter youth's side in January 2011 but failed to break into the first team and left the following summer.
• Rapid midfielder Veton Berisha's brother Valon plays in Italy with fellow UEFA Europa League round of 32 participants Lazio.
• Inter are one of ten clubs in the round of 32 who have won either the UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League. Only Sevilla, with a record five wins, have lifted the trophy more often.
• No team has lost more matches in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, than Rapid (23).
• Inter's record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L2:
5-4 v Celtic, 1971/72 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi final
3-4 v Aston Villa, 1994/95 UEFA Cup first round
5-3 v Grazer AK, 1996/97 UEFA Cup second round
1-4 v Schalke, 1996/97 UEFA Cup final
• Rapid have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.
• Luciano Spalletti has followed a modest playing career by establishing himself as one of the leading Italian coaches. His first breakthrough came at Udinese, prompting Roma to employ him in 2005. He claimed two Coppa Italia wins with the Giallorossi, and was twice voted Serie A coach of the year, before leaving in 2009 for Zenit, where he was a double Russian title winner. A return to Roma, and a Serie A runners-up spot, persuaded Inter to appoint him in June 2017. His debut campaign secured the club's first UEFA Champions League participation in seven seasons.
• Dietmar Kühbauer was named as the new head coach of Rapid on 1 October, replacing Goran Djuricin, who was dismissed two days earlier after a 0-2 home defeat to Kühbauer's St Pölten. A Rapid legend as a player, midfielder 'Didi' won the Austrian Bundesliga title in 1995/96, the same season in which he helped the club reach the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final. Capped 55 times by Austria between 1992 and 2005, his coaching career came to a halt in November 2015 after spells with Admira and Wolfsberg, before resuming in April 2018 at St Pölten.