Inter in search of sensational San Siro win over Wolfsburg
Inter Milan must overturn a damaging 3-1 first leg defeat to Wolfsburg when they host the Bundesliga high-flyers to the San Siro for their Europa League last 16 second leg showdown.
The Nerazzurri, 5/1 with Coral to qualify, took an early lead through Rodrigo Palacio at the Volkswagen Arena, before Naldo levelled before the break, with brilliant Belgian Kevin De Bruyne then stunning Roberto Mancini’s men with a superb second-half brace.
Serie A strugglers Inter, 13/8 to triumph, have endured a torrid domestic campaign, much to the disapproval of their fans, but former Manchester City boss Mancini insisted that his side can produce a special night in the San Siro.
“It’s understandable the fans are angry or disappointed, because we’re not doing well. But we need them at the stadium on Thursday,” said Mancini.
“We need a special night where we make things happen. Wolfsburg are a good team, it’s no surprise they are second in the Bundesliga But, if we put in a great performance, we can get through to the next round.”
The Italian outfit are in danger of missing out on next season’s Champions League, having stumbled to eighth position and 12 points adrift of third-placed Lazio, after a disappointing draw with relegation-threatened Cesena in their previous domestic league clash.
Meanwhile, their German opposition, 6/4 to win, are enjoying a complete contrast in form and fortunes this term, opening a nine-point gap in second of the Bundesliga, after just a single defeat in their last 13 league outings.
Dieter Hecking’s Die Wolfe have been on an incredible run of form, with only one defeat in 21 games in all competitions, which includes an amazing 16 victories. The in-form visitors are 7/2 to win in 90 minutes with both teams getting on the scoresheet.
A key factor in Wolfsburg’s success so far this season has been the rampant rise of their deadly Dutch danger Bas Dost, who has struck a sublime 15 goals in 21 games. The striker, who recently earned himself an international call-up, is 4/1 to open proceedings in Italy.
As well as Dost, Inter will need to be wary of Chelsea outcast De Bruyne, after the playmaker’s rise to prominence since a switch from Stamford Bridge. Having bagged a brace in the first leg, the Belgian is 10/1 so net two or more again in 90 minutes.
The hosts will be relying on their star striker Mauro Icardi as a vital attacking threat, with the Argentine attacker closing in on a 20-goal tally for the current campaign. Mancini’s magnificent marksman is 5/1 to score the last goal in 90 minutes.
Inter will need to produce a sensational San Siro showing in order to keep any Champions League hopes for next season alive, with the Europa League champion this term earning a direct passage into next campaign’s elite European competition.