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Eintracht Frankfurt v Internazionale background

Eintracht Frankfurt have been highly impressive in this season's competition but now face a stern test in Internazionale.

Eintracht Frankfurt celebrate reaching the round of 16
Eintracht Frankfurt celebrate reaching the round of 16 ©Getty Images

Eintracht Frankfurt, the top-scoring team in this season's UEFA Europa League, face a tough challenge to maintain their unbeaten run in the competition as they take on fellow former UEFA Cup winners Internazionale.

• It has been plain sailing so far for Eintracht. They topped Group H with maximum points as they won home and away against Lazio, Apollon Limassol and 2017/18 runners-up Marseille, before seeing off Shakhtar Donetsk, who had moved across from the UEFA Champions League, 6-3 on aggregate in the round of 16.

• Inter finished third in UEFA Champions League Group B, losing out to second-placed Tottenham Hotspur on the head-to-head rule with eight points – six fewer than section winners Barcelona. Their introduction to the UEFA Europa League brought a straightforward 5-0 aggregate victory over Rapid Wien in the round of 32.

Classic German-Italian Europa League ties
Classic German-Italian Europa League ties

Previous meetings
• There have been no past UEFA competition encounters between the clubs.

• Eintracht's record against Italian teams is W4 D1 L2, though their 4-1 group stage win against Lazio was their first at home in the last three such encounters. Their record in two-legged ties against opposition from Italy – both of which occurred in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup – is W1 L1.

• Inter's 37 UEFA competition matches against German opponents have yielded 16 wins, eight draws and 13 defeats; away from home their record is W5 D7 L5. Their most recent trip to Germany, and their only one in the UEFA Europa League, resulted in a 3-1 defeat at Wolfsburg in the round of 16, which, followed by a 1-2 defeat in Milan, brought elimination.

• Inter defeated Bayern München 2-0 in the 2010 UEFA Champions League final but lost on penalties to Schalke in the UEFA Cup final of 1997 – one of only five two-legged UEFA ties they have lost out of 13 against German clubs.

Highlights: Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Highlights: Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 Shakhtar Donetsk

Form guide
• A dramatic 2017/18 German Cup final victory over Bundesliga champions Bayern München – 3-1 in Berlin – gave Eintracht their first major silverware in 30 years and secured their first European campaign in five.

• The 1980 UEFA Cup winners opened their Group H campaign with a 2-1 victory in Marseille and secured qualification by beating Lazio (4-1 home) and Apollon (2-0 home, 3-2 away), maintaining their winning streak against Marseille (4-0 home) and Lazio (2-1 away) to finish nine points clear of the Italian club. A 2-2 draw at Shakhtar in the first leg of the round of 32 ended their winning run but a 4-1 victory in the return, in which Sébastien Haller scored twice, propelled them into the UEFA Europa League last 16 for the first time.

• Eintracht's only other European participation in the past dozen seasons came in 2013/14, when they successfully negotiated the UEFA Europa League play-offs and group stage, topping their section with 15 points, before going out on away goals to Porto in the round of 32 (2-2 away, 3-3 home).

• Eintracht's overall record in the UEFA Europa League, home and away and including qualifying, is W14 D3 L1, the sole defeat coming at Maccabi Tel-Aviv (2-4) in November 2013. They have scored two or more goals in all but one of their last 19 European fixtures and have not drawn a blank since a 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup group stage. Their home record in the competition is W8 D1, only Porto denying them victory.

Highlights: Inter 4-0 Rapid Wien
Highlights: Inter 4-0 Rapid Wien

• 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 Eindhoven, 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 both their previous participations in this competition they were eliminated in the round of 16, losing to Tottenham in 2012/13 (0-3 away, 4-1aet home) and Wolfsburg two years later.

• Three-time UEFA Cup winners (in 1991, 1994 and 1998), Inter are also the last Italian team to have been crowned champions of Europe, their 2010 UEFA Champions League triumph adding to previous European Cup successes in 1964 and 1965.

• The Nerazzurri have won only two of their last 11 European away fixtures and lost six of their last eight, the exceptions this season's 2-1 win at PSV and the round of 32 victory in Vienna – their first away success in this competition since they triumphed 1-0 at Dnipro in September 2014, ending a seven-match winless run (D3 L4).

#UEL round of 32 second legs: Best saves
#UEL round of 32 second legs: Best saves

Links and trivia 
• Inter's Ivan Perišić played in Germany with Borussia Dortmund (2011–13) and Wolfsburg (2013–15). He faced Eintracht six times, the first with Dortmund and the other five with Wolfsburg. He lost none of those games and scored against them for Wolfsburg in a 2-1 win on the opening day of the 2015/16 season – his last Bundesliga goal before departing for Inter two weeks later.

• From January to September 2013 Eintracht's Makoto Hasebe played alongside Perišić at Wolfsburg.

• Eintracht's Ante Rebić was a 2018 FIFA World Cup runner-up with Croatia alongside Perišić and Marcelo Brozović.

• Rebić is a former Fiorentina team-mate of Borja Valero and Matías Vecino, while Gelson Fernandes (Chievo, Udinese) and Jonathan de Guzmán (Napoli, Carpi, Chievo) have also played in Italy. Alongside Fernandes at Udinese in 2011/12 were Samir Handanovič and Kwadwo Asamoah.

• In the autumn Eintracht became the first German club to win all six of their matches in a UEFA Europa League group stage. They are the top-scoring team in the competition, with 23 goals – one more than Salzburg.

• With six goals Eintracht's Serbian striker Luka Jović is joint second in the competition's top scorer standings, one behind Salzburg's Munas Dabbur.

• Frankfurt are one of seven teams to have come through the UEFA Europa League group stage undefeated, and one of only three to have retained that status after the round of 32, along with Villarreal and Chelsea.

Pick of the goals from the last 32 second legs
Pick of the goals from the last 32 second legs

• Eintracht are one of four clubs involved in this round of 16 who have never previously participated at this juncture of the UEFA Europa League; Slavia Praha, Dinamo Zagreb and Rennes are the others.

• There are seven former winners of the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League in this season's round of 16. This is the only tie between two of those clubs.

The coaches
• Austrian coach Adi Hütter was appointed by Eintracht Frankfurt as the successor to Bayern München-bound Niko Kovač in May 2018, having just led Young Boys to their first Swiss league title in 32 years. A midfielder who spent seven years with Salzburg, he returned to lead the club to a domestic double in 2014/15 after managerial spells at Altach and Grödig. He then crossed the border to spend the next three seasons in Berne.

• 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.