Rapid Wien mounted a remarkable recovery to reach the round of 32 and will be looking to continue that form as Internazionale visit.
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An impressive recovery has carried Rapid Wien into the UEFA Europa League knockout phase for the second time, and they will be bidding to make amends for a forgettable last appearance in the round of 32 as they take on Italian heavyweights Internazionale, third-placed finishers in UEFA Champions League Group B.
• 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 as runners-up behind Villarreal, who finished ahead of them on the head-to-head rule.
• Inter lost out on the same rule to Tottenham Hotspur 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.
• 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 only their second in 21 fixtures (D5 L14). Since then their record is D3 L6, 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).
• Inter have won eight of their 14 matches against Austrian clubs but all five of their defeats have come on Austrian soil – against five different clubs. Their last trip to Vienna, however, was a successful one as they defeated Salzburg 1-0 at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion in the first leg of the 1993/94 UEFA Cup final, repeating the scoreline in Milan to win the trophy for the second time.
• 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).
• Four wins and one draw in Vienna this season – with just one goal conceded and none in the group stage – mean Rapid are unbeaten in eight European home games (W5 D3). Their last 14 home fixtures in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, have yielded eight wins and five draws, the only defeat that 4-0 loss to Valencia.
• 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 have won only one of their last ten European away fixtures and have lost six of their last seven, the exception this season's 2-1 win at PSV. They have lost their last four UEFA Europa League fixtures outside Italy, drawing the previous three. Their last away win in this competition was 1-0 at Dnipro in September 2014.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Srdjan Grahovac, Leo Greiml, Ivan Močinić
Out: Jérémy Guillemenot, Christoph Haas, Aleksandar Kostić
In: Cédric Soares
Out: Šime Vrsaljko
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.
• No team has lost more matches in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, than Rapid (22).
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.