Rapid Wien 0-1 Inter: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Martinez Gives Inter Victory in First Leg

Inter proved they could cope without star player Mauro Icardi as they defeated Rapid Wien 1-0 in the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 clash at the Allianz Stadion on Thursday.

The Nerazzurri dominated the first half without posing too much of a threat to the Rapid goal, until referee Tobias Stieler awarded the Italian side a penalty after Lautaro Martinez was fouled by Manuel Thurnwald.

​​Martinez picked himself up to take the penalty, smashing the ball down the centre of Strebinger’s goal to put ​Inter a goal to the good in Austria with his seventh goal of the season.


Rapid should have scored when Valon Berisha worked his way to the byline before sliding a ball across the box to an unmarked Knasmullner, whose first time drive was terrifically stopped by a quick reaction save from Slovenian Samir Handanovic. 

The chance for Knasmuller proved to be Rapid’s best chance of the game, as they failed to muster any other shots on target during the 90 minutes, as Inter held on to take a slender 1-0 lead back to Italy. 

Rapid Wien

Key Talking Point

With Inter dropping down from the Champions League into the Europa League, Rapid Wien were undoubtedly underdogs going into the game after they qualified for the knockout rounds.

SK Rapid Wien v FC Internazionale - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: First Leg

In truth, Rapid Wien never really threatened an upset as Inter controlled the game. They face a tough task of turning the game around at San Siro in the second leg.

Players Ratings

Starting XI: Strebinger (6), Potzmann (5), Sonnleitner (5), Hofmann (6), Bolingoli-Mbombo (5), Grahovac (5), Ljubicic (5), Thurnwald (4), Schwab (5), Ivan (6), Berisha (5).

Substitutes: Schobesberger (6), Knasmullner (6).


Key Talking Point

After a disgruntled ​Mauro Icardi refused to travel to Vienna for the game due to being stripped of the captaincy, it was going to be interesting to see how his Inter teammates responded to his absence.

Lautaro Martinez,Joan Miranda

Inter did what they had to do without being spectacular. They grabbed an away goal, which sets them up nicely for the home return leg. Icardi’s replacement Lautaro Martinez also put in a decent display, perhaps showing Nerazzurri fans that the club could cope without their top scorer.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Handanovic (6), Asamoah (7), Miranda (7), De Vrij (7), Cedric (5), Valero (6), Vecino (7), Perisic (7), Nainggolan (6), Politano (6), Martinez (8*).

Substitutes: Candreva (5), D’Ambrosio (5).

STAR MAN – Argentinian striker Lautaro Martinez lead the line in the absence of former club captain Mauro Icardi and took his opportunity to impress, winning and converting a first half penalty to give Inter the advantage going into the return leg.

The 21-year-old showed bags of energy and flair, as he proved a constant threat for the Rapid defenders.

SK Rapid Wien v FC Internazionale - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: First Leg

WORST PLAYER – It was a clumsy performance from Portugal international Cedric. The on-loan Southampton full-back looked rusty as he mistimed several challenges during the game.

Looking Ahead

Rapid Wien have a Austrian Cup quarter final to contest on Sunday, as they take on Hartberg at the Allianz Stadion.

Inter travel to Sampdoria on Sunday in ​Serie A as they continue to try to establish their position within the top four.


Mauro Icardi: Ranking 6 Potential Next Destinations Following Inter Captaincy Strip

It’s been a chaotic couple of days for Mauro Icardi. Well, in truth, a chaotic campaign altogether. 

Marred by his ongoing contractual saga, which has apparently seen him lose the Inter captaincy, Icardi has struggled to maintain his usual consistency. However, he has still been at the heart of everything the Nerazzurri have done well, notching 15 goals and three assists in 28 appearances. 

He remains the most clutch number nine in football right now, and at 25 is the hottest striking commodity that appears somewhat available on the market. 

So, if Inter can’t meet his (and Wanda’s) demands here are six suitors who just might, ranked for suitability:

6. Paris Saint-Germain

Kylian Mbappe,Neymar,Edinson Cavani

Ahh, Paris Saint-Germain. Guaranteed dominance of the league goes hand in hand with European ignominy and a load of cash. 

Plus there’s the added complication of a competitive field, with the Parisians already in possession of a highly potent frontline. Of course, whether that will stay this way beyond the summer remains to be seen. However, Kylian Mbappe only seems to growing into the number nine position. 

As I said, if you fancy cash and trophies for old rope, then by all means. But if you value competition and team success, as it seems you do, Mauro, then give it a miss.

5. Bayern Munich

Bayern Munchen v Schalke 04 - German Bundesliga

Ok, Bayern have clearly got a loyal following, a decent enough atmosphere and some sturdy team spirit. But do they have the quality of depth to truly challenge on the biggest stage? 

It’s an ageing squad over in Bavaria, and while that leaves some spots open for rebuilding, the man up top – Robert Lewandowski – remains almost as sharp as ever. Also, their record transfer fee is still just €41.5m. Are they really going to sufficiently invest around you if they’ve already coughed up €100m or more? Doubt it. 

4. Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Auld Enemy. I mean, the Old Lady, but still, same thing really. It’s a dirty, dirty move to switch Milan for Turin, but it’s certainly not unprecedented. 

Perhaps more pressing for a man who’s had no qualms squabbling with Inter’s ultras in the past, is that man up there. Sure, he’s a 34-year-old now, but he’s also still an alien. So can you really take a chance on someone like that slowing down. 

Yes, there’s always the potential for two up top, but I can’t see Cristiano Ronaldo being too accomodating, can you?

3. Chelsea

Gonzalo Higuain

What’s not to like? 

Well, maybe quite a lot, but still, Mauro, give love a chance. Because Chelsea fans would unequivocally love you, no holds barred. Gonzalo Higuain? He’s just warming your seat. But, if you want him to stay for some nice compatriot company, that can definitely be arranged. Higuain’s great too. 

Yes, there’s upheaval, managerial uncertainty, and the potential for no Champions League football and no Eden Hazard, but apart from that, it’s the dream! Honest. You’ll be a legend.

2. Barcelona

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Copa del Rey Semi Final

Old haunts. Old flames. Reconnection. Redemption. 

There’s nothing quite like it, is there? It’s a story told thousands of times over, yet it never gets old. And this is the opportunity that awaits at Barcelona – the chance to play for the team that forgoed you, a chance to play with the player you sought to emulate all those years ago. Lionel Messi. 

But also, a less overwhelming Messi. A latter-day Messi, willing to share the limelight. Yes, he’s ‘best buds’ with Luis Suarez right now, but how long can that last, especially with the Uruguayan’s knees. It’s time for a new Sheriff at the Nou Camp.

1. Real Madrid

Real Madrid CF v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga

Conversely, you could shove all that lovey-dovey sh*te in the bin, and opt for sustained European excellence instead. 

Because you know what’s an even more prevalent story being told in this day and age? Revenge. And it’s best served ice cold, baby. You just saw it yourself, Barca abandoned you. They left you to rot. Fed you to the dogs. They didn’t care if they ever saw your face again. 

And now they want to backtrack? They want to bring you back? F*@& THAT. And, if you think Luis Suarez is dispensible, then look no further than Karim Benzema. Sure, he may be in the form of his life, but do you think Real Madrid care? Not a jot. He’s 31. He’s washed. He’s out of there the second you arrive. So, where’s your pen? 


Valentine’s Day 2019: Picking a Starting XI of Football’s Dreamiest Men for Your Superhunk Clubhouse

​Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! 

This has become a bit of an annual ritual, hasn’t it? But it’s been two years now since we started and – like some relationships two years in – things have gone a bit stale and need spicing up. What? No, you’re projecting. Shut up. 

Anyway, this year we’re including nobody who’s ever made it into the fit XI in past years. Change is coming. ​2017 lads, ​2018 hunks, you’re in the past now. 

What better way to feel great about your life on Valentine’s Day than to look at a bunch of genetically perfect millionaires, alone, on your phone or laptop? Exactly.

Goalkeeper: Paulo Gazzaniga

If you haven’t seen Paulo Gazzaniga before – and to be fair, it’s not like he’s played week in, week out anywhere in this country – you’re welcome. 

We ignore that he’s shaved his head and looks about 70% worse recently, he’s still got the eyes. Ah, the eyes…

Bonus fact: His middle name is Dino. 

Right-Back: Ramin Rezaeian

If there was a competition for best looking national team, Iran would win hands down. Sorry Spain. But apparently it’s ‘not editorially justifiable’ to do a bit where every single player on this list is in the Iranian World Cup squad, so Ramin Rezaeian is the nod. Obviously. Look at him! 

Also? Four consecutive vowels in his name. That’s cool. 

Centre-Back: Joe Gomez

He does a good line in smouldering looks, he’s a bit injury prone so he’ll have more time to spend at home with you…Joe Gomez, on the plane. 

Honourable mention for Fabian Schar, if only to shut up the *squints* 7,185 people on Twitter who kept going on about him. 

Centre-Back: Maya Yoshida

Strong. Tall. Experienced. Serious. Distinguished. Maya Yoshida…is daddy? 

Left-Back: Jose Gaya

Dark eyes, thick hair, boyishly handsome face (to be fair, he is only 23) and – most importantly – a basically generically good looking left-back when there are so few out there. 

Right Wing: Keita Baldé Diao

Oh yeah, now we’re getting to it. A wicked smile, a glint in the eye and the kind of upper body that makes everyone else in the gym locker room look down at themselves and ask ‘honestly, what’s the point of bothering?’

Central Midfield: Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Roftus Loftus-Choftus is so wonderfully, ‘take home to mum’ safe in his inarguable handsomeness that he’s almost a doubt for this team. Sometimes you want a bit more of an edge, you know? 

But nah. He’s too good looking. He stays. 

Central Midfield: Andre Gomes

*insert template of handsome Iberian footballer here*

Honourable mention: Granit Xhaka

Left Wing: Filip Kostić

Filip Kostić has a jaw so strong it could bench the rest of this team single-handedly – and would grow a single hand so that it could do it. This man’s jaw could fight the entire cast of The Expendables in their primes. Filip Kostić’s jaw absolutely fuc——I’m being told I’m not allowed to write that. 

Striker: Alexandre Lacazette

If you aren’t charmed to death by this man when he turns his eyes on you and flashes that smile, you should probably go immediately to the nearest hospital because it appears you might be dead. 

Striker: Fernando Llorente

O captain, my captain. 

Honourable mention: Kelechi Iheanacho

Manager: Herve Renard

A 50-year-old man is the best looking person in football. Does Herve ‘Jaime Lannister but with crisp, half unbuttoned white shirts’ Renard spark joy? You bet he does. 

Honourable mention: Pepe Bordalas


Luciano Spalletti Reveals Mauro Icardi Refused to Travel With Squad to Face Rapid Wien

​Inter manager Luciano Spalletti has revealed that it was in fact Mauro Icardi’s decision to not travel for the Europa League clash with Rapid Wien, not a managerial snub. 

It was announced on Wednesday morning that Icardi had been stripped of the ​Nerazzurri captaincy after his drawn out contract talks with club caused a rift in relations, with veteran goalkeeper Samir Handanovic taking over as new club captain.

Mauro Icardi

And subsequently, the matchday squad for the game in Vienna was revealed, with the Argentine absent, in a suspected punishment. 

However, the tactician revealed a different tale in his pre-match press conference, as quoted by ​Calciomercato. Spalletti proclaimed: “There is a very important match on the way, then there will be time to clarify the situation, it is a difficult and painful decision made for the good of the team.

“​Icardi was summoned, it is he who did not come in. After Parma I said certain things because obviously there was a need to speak. I do not deal with contracts, you have to talk to them [the directors]. 

“The decision was made at the right time, it is a painful decision but well-reasoned. Sometimes, to love, things must be said as they think. There are situations in football, in life, that do not go over again.”

And, as quoted by the club’s official ​twitter page, Spalletti continued: “Taking the armband off Icardi was a difficult and painful decision, but we know his worth. However, we took it together with all of the club’s components involved. It was done exclusively for the good of Inter.”

Icardi’s absence ensures Lautaro Martinez of a starring role, and the 59-year-old confirmed: “We’ll see Lautaro tomorrow, a striker who’s just as strong and who already proved this on Sunday. From him, like all of the rest, we expect the same kind of contribution as always.”


Mauro Icardi Omitted From Inter’s Matchday Squad to Face Rapid Wien After Losing Captaincy

​Inter have omitted Mauro Icardi from their matchday squad to face Rapid Wien in the Europa League on Thursday, after stripping the Argentine forward of the captain’s armband.

The Serie A giants ​confirmed that Samir Handanovic will lead the team on the pitch going forward, amid rumours that talks over a new contract for Icardi have completely broken down.

​Inter confirmed their matchday squad for Thursday’s match on ​Twitter, revealing that ​Icardi will play no part in the important match.

Key players such as ​Ivan Perisic and Stefan De Vrij will join Handanovic on the field against Rapid Wien, with Lautaro Martinez likely to replace Icardi in attack.

Icardi’s omission from such an important fixture will certainly prompt rumours of an imminent departure from the club. The likes of ​Chelsea, ​Real Madrid and ​Juventus have all been heavily linked with a move for Icardi, but any list of potential suitors for the forward would likely be extensive if he was made available.

Mauro Icardi

Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea were regularly linked with the 25-year-old during the January transfer window, but instead opted to sign ​Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus. However, should Icardi be made available for transfer, the Blues could reignite their interest to help bolster their options in attack.

Icardi’s wife and agent, Wanda Nara, has forged a reputation as a tough negotiator, regularly speaking to the media about her client’s contract situation. He remains under contract at the San Siro until 2021, but talks of a potential renewal for Icardi have been ongoing for months.


There is reportedly a release clause in his contract which would allow Icardi to leave the club for a fee of €110m (£96m), and it is thought that Inter are keen to increase that clause in an attempt to keep rival clubs away from their star striker.

However, recent developments will certainly fuel talk of a potential transfer for Icardi, who has racked up a stunning 122 goals in 2010 games for Inter. World-class strikers are a valuable commodity, and Inter could be set for a bidding war once the summer transfer window opens.


Mauro Icardi Stripped of Inter Captaincy as Relationship With Club Reaches New Low

​Inter have confirmed that goalkeeper Samir Handanovic will replace Mauro Icardi as the club’s captain going forward, amid rumours that Icardi is unhappy at the club.

The striker has captained Inter since the start of the 2015/16 season, but has found himself heavily linked with a potential departure from the club amid rumours of a breakdown in contract talks.

​Inter confirmed the news on ​Twitter, simply stating: “The Club can confirm that Samir Handanovic is the new Inter captain.”

Despite remaining under contract at the club until 2021, ​Icardi’s future has been the subject of a huge amount of speculation this season – with his wife and agent Wanda Nara notoriously unpredictable in her dealings with the club. Reports have suggested that the 25-year-old has been discussing a new contract with the club for months, yet no renewal has materialised as of yet.

​Chelsea were heavily linked with a move for Icardi, but instead opted to sign ​Gonzalo Higuain from ​Juventus. ​Real Madrid are also regularly touted as potential suitors for the Argentine, and this latest development will only fuel the talk of an imminent departure from the San Siro.

Mauro Emanuel Icardi

Despite netting nine goals in the first 13 ​Serie A matches of the season, Icardi is goalless in the last seven games, which is his longest drought since joining the club, and Inter fear that this contract stand-off is beginning to impact his performances on the pitch.

Speaking to DAZN following Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Parma, manager Luciano Spalletti called for an end to the uncertainty surrounding Icardi. He is quoted by ​Football Italia as saying: “I have not created any problems for Icardi. Issues need to be clarified, because when you leave things half-cocked, they become open to interpretation.

“People have said a few too many things, now there is time to sit down and talk about something we’ve avoided and dragged along with us for months.”


He then elaborated on this point in his press conference, and is quoted by Football Italia as saying: “Mauro is evidently seeing his performance affected by some situations that have been going on recently. He needs to free himself from the talk that is around him.

“The directors agreed to start talking about the contract, so now they need to go there and conclude it.”


10 Youngest Players to Score in the Champions League

Scoring is one of the best feelings in the world, but grabbing a goal in the Champions League is a feeling like no other.

And for young players, scoring in the Champions League can be the beginning of something magical – as they demonstrate to the world that they are capable of mixing it with the very best that European football has to offer.

We’ve seen plenty of young blossoming talent bursting on to the biggest stage in European competition with a bang – so here, we look at the 10 youngest players to have ever found the back of the net in the Champions League..

10. Mariyan Ognyanov: 18 years & 59 days

Manuel Konrad,Mariyan Ognyanov,Velin Damyanov

Levski Sofia (vs Chelsea) 2006/07 season.

Just two months after he celebrated his 18th birthday, Ognyanov found himself scoring Levski’s first ever goal in the Champions League. 

The goal only served as a consolation as Levski lost the game 3-1, but it was a moment that Ognyanov will never forget. To date, he has failed to score again in the Champions League – and Levski have yet to qualify for the competition again.

9. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 18 years & 44 days

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Arsenal (vs Olympiakos) 2011/12 season.

With this goal, Oxlade-Chamberlain become the youngest English goalscorer in the Champions League, getting his goal just eight minutes into his debut.

He had only joined the Gunners a month previously from Southampton, and enjoyed a run to the last 16 of the competition – with Milan ultimately triumphing over Arsene Wenger’s side.

8. Karim Benzema: 17 years & 355 days

Lyon's French forward Karim Benzema (L)

Lyon (vs Rosenborg) 2005/06 season.

Karim Benzema grabbed his first professional goal in Lyon’s 2-1 victory over Rosenborg, introducing himself into the first team picture in the best way possible.

The Ligue 1 heavyweights were eventually knocked out in the quarter-finals by Italian giants AC Milan – but not before Benzema had demonstrated that he would be more than capable of making it on the world’s stage.

7. Aaron Ramsey: 17 years & 299 days

Arsenal's Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey

Arsenal (vs Fenerbahce) 2008/09 season.

Aaron Ramsey’s goal against Fenerbahce ensured that he became only the second player born in the 1990s to score in the Champions League – sealing a comprehensive 5-2 win for the Gunners. 

Arsenal would make it all the way to the semi-finals, were they were knocked out by arch rivals Manchester United 4-1 on aggregate.

6. Breel Embolo: 17 years & 263 days


Basel (vs Ludogorets) 2014/15 season.

The Swiss striker announced his name to the world aged just 16 when he scored four minutes into his Basel debut. It wouldn’t take long for Embolo to then score at Champions League level, in a season where he would score an impressive 17 times.

Basel were eliminated in the round of 16 by FC Porto, with their 4-0 second leg defeat ensuring they lost convincingly on aggregate.

5. Martin Klein: 17 years & 240 days

Czech AC Sparta Prague goalkeeper Petr C

Sparta Prague (vs Panathinakos) 2001/02 season.

Martin Klein is not a name that will be familiar to many, but he does currently stand as the fifth youngest goalscorer in Champions League history.

The teenager netted a late goal in Sparta’s 2-1 loss – though it would count for very little in the long run as they failed to progress from a group that included eventual winners Real Madrid.

4. Cesc Fabregas: 17 years, 218 days

Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas (Front) celebrat

Arsenal (vs Rosenborg) 2004/05 season.

Cesc Fabregas’ introduction on to the world’s stage came in a Highbury demolition job – with Norwegian champions Rosenborg the unfortunate victims.

The Spaniard’s goal came in a 5-1 win and was the most moment of significance in what would turn out to be an illustrious European career for Fabregas. Bayern Munich would knock Arsenal out of the competition before they could really get going though, claiming a narrow 3-2 aggregate win.

3. Bojan Krkic: 17 years & 217 days

Bojan Krkic

Barcelona (vs Schalke) 2007/08 season.

Bojan began his career with a bang, becoming the first player born in the 1990s to score a Champions League goal. 

He netted the only goal in a quarter-final first leg tie away at Schalke, breaking Lionel Messi’s record of being the youngest player to represent Barça. The Catalan giants reached the semi-finals, before narrowly losing to eventual winners Manchester United.

2. Mateo Kovacic: 17 years & 215 days

Mateo Kovacic

Dinamo Zagreb (vs Lyon), 2011/12 season.

Mateo Kovacic put his name up in lights after surprisingly putting Dinamo 1-0 up against Ligue 1 favourites Lyon – though his side would eventually go to concede seven!

The Croatian went onto become one of Zagreb’s key players, earning the captaincy before moving on to Inter in 2013. His goal in the 2011/12 campaign meant very little in the end – with Zagreb ending that season’s competition with six defeats out of six.

1. Peter Ofori-Quaye: 17 years & 195 days

Peter Oforiquaye

Olympiacos (vs Rosenborg) 1997/98 season.

Here we have it, the youngest goal scorer in Champions League history – Ghanaian striker Peter Ofori-Quaye.

Coming off the bench, he produced a superb turn and neat finish to become a history maker – though his goal unfortunately came amidst a Rosenborg spanking. He would go on to score three further Champions League goals in his career, but his career would drift off into obscurity after being released by Olympiacos in 2003.


Ivan Perisic ‘Wants to Join Tottenham’ After Missing Out on January Move to Arsenal

​Tottenham are now favourites to sign Ivan Perisic from Inter after a January move to Arsenal fell through, according to reports from Italy.

Perisic handed in a transfer request during the last week of the transfer window, with Arsenal reportedly keen to sign him on loan until the end of the season before making the move permanent next summer.

That move failed to materialise, and it was reported that Perisic would actually prefer to join ​Tottenham; however, Mauricio Pochettino did not make an approach for the Croatian winger.

Tottenham Hotspur v FC Internazionale - UEFA Champions League Group B

Tuttosport (via ​Sport Witness) reports that Perisic is still determined to play in the Premier League and his interest may at last be reciprocated by Tottenham, who are preparing for next season.

The Italian outlet claims that Perisic is now ‘betrothed’ to Spurs ahead of a summer wedding, and could become the first new signing to join Mauricio Pochettino’s squad in 18 months.

It is likely that the transfer would be a cash-plus-players deal, with Moussa Sissoko and ​Serge Aurier named as possibilities who could be used in part exchange.

Signing a 30-year-old player who would command a high salary doesn’t sound like a typical move for Pochettino, who has built his team around a young core of attacking players, but Tuttosport is adamant that Perisic will be a Tottenham player next season.

​Arsenal are highly unlikely to re-enter the race for Perisic after ​Inter manager Luciano Spalletti slammed the Gunners for misleading Perisic with talk of a bid that never materialised.

“He [Perisic] realised it was not a true offer and that he’d been conned,” said Spalletti.

Perisic was also linked with ​Manchester United last summer, though these rumours have not resurfaced since Jose Mourinho left Old Trafford.


Rapid Wien vs Inter Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

​Inter get their Europa League campaign underway on Thursday night when they face Rapid Wien in the round of 32.

After agonisingly missing out on the last 16 of the Champions League, Luciano Spalletti’s men will test their resolve in the second tier of European football as they look to notch their fourth title in the competition.

Their opponents, meanwhile, muddled through Group G to finish second and secure passage to the round of 32, finishing with ten points from the 18 available.

Check out 90min’s preview of Thursday’s game below.

Where to Watch

​When Is Kick Off? ​Thursday 14 February
​What Time Is Kick Off? ​17:55 (GMT)
​Where Is it Played? ​Allianz Stadion
​TV Channel/Live Stream? ​BT Sport
​Referee? ​N/A

​Team News

​The Austrian outfit will be without long-term absentee Tamas Szanto, who is yet to appear this term on account of the cartilage damage he sustained last year. 

They will also be without midfielder Dejan Ljubicic, who picked up a red card in their last competitive game in back December. 

For Inter, there is one change in their European squad list as Southampton loanee Cedric has replaced Sime Vrsaljko after the World Cup finalist picked up a season-ending knee injury last month. 

Predicted Lineups 

​Rapid Wien ​Strebinger; Muldur, Dibon, Barac, Potzmann; Schwab, Martic; Murg, Knasmullner, Schobesberger; Alar
Inter ​Handanovic; Cedric, Skriniar, de Vrij, Asamoah; Vecino, Brozovic; Mario, Nainggolan, Perisic; Icardi

Head to Head Record

Honours are even in the two-game series between these sides, with both meetings coming in the UEFA Cup where they played out two-legged ties. 

Inter are yet to beat their Austrian counterparts away from home, whilst the Italian giants have won one and drawn one at San Siro.

Luciano Spalletti

Recent Form

Rapid Wien have struggled domestically this term, having won just five of their 18 outings in the Austrian Bundesliga, which sees them reside in eighth place. Thursday’s tie will be their first competitive fixture of 2019, with the Austrian club enjoying a prolonged winter break.

Their struggles in the Europa League have been predominantly in front of goal, as only Slavia Prague scored fewer in the group stage out of all 24 qualified sides.

​Inter also go into this game out of form, having won just one of their last five domestic outings. They too have struggled to score goals in recent weeks and Spalletti will be desperate to get his strikers firing again on Thursday night.

Here’s how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:

​Rapid Wien ​Inter
Austria Wien 6-1 Rapid Wien (16/12) ​Parma 0-1 Inter (9/2)
Rapid Wien 1-0 Rangers (13/12) ​Inter 0-1 Bologna (3/2)
Rapid Wien 0-0 Sturm Graz (9/12) ​Inter 1-1 Lazio (31/1)
FC Wacker Innsbruck 0-1 Rapid Wien (2/12) ​Torino 1-0 Inter (27/1)
Spartak Moscow 1-2 Rapid Wien (29/11) ​Inter 0-0 Sassuolo (19/1)


Inter will be forced to lick their Champions League wounds and recover quickly to have a decent stab at the Europa League this year. Though their goalscoring issues remain clear for all to see, with ​Mauro Icardi on their books the drought is never likely to last too long.

Mauro Icardi

Though they are yet to lose on home soil in this year’s competition, Rapid Wien will have a tough task containing European royalty in Inter, who will take a slender lead back to San Siro.

Prediction: Rapid Wien 1-2 Inter


Inter & Juventus Reject Mesut Ozil Offer as Arsenal Seek to Offload German Outcast

Mesut Ozil has fallen out of favour under Unai Emery to such an extent that he could be sold this summer to free up space on Arsenal’s wage bill.

The German has played in just one of Arsenal’s last seven Premier League matches, and wasn’t even in the squad for Saturday’s win over Huddersfield, with an illness given as the official reason.

​Ozil’s weekly earnings are in excess of £300,000, putting him second behind only former teammate Alexis Sanchez on the list of the Premier League’s highest earners, and ​Arsenal cannot afford to spend that sort of money on a benchwarmer.

However, those wages could prove prohibitive in attempts to sell Ozil. ​The Mirror reports that ​Inter have rejected the chance to sign the 30-year-old at a cut price.

Mesut Ozil

I Nerazzurri have been linked with Ozil for a number of months, but their interest has cooled lately, with the player’s ‘very disappointing performances’ given as a reason for that.

​Calciomercato claims that Ozil was also offered to ​Juventus under similar circumstances, but with out-of-contract Gunners star Aaron Ramsey already bound for Turin, the Serie A champions have no interest in his teammate.

Ozil has made more than 200 appearances for Arsenal since they signed him from Real Madrid in 2013, and has frequently been among the Premier League’s top assist makers, with 55 in the top flight.


Despite this, he is often used a scapegoat for Arsenal’s failures, and his eye-popping pay packet has raised expectations to a level which he has not been able to consistently meet.

He was a key player in the early stages of this season and even captained Arsenal on a number of occasions, but now appears to have fallen out of favour.