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Qasa Alom On March - 22 - 2011

European Roundup: Inter’s German Dream

Serie A’s last hope on the continent Inter return to Germany to face Schalke as the nerazzuri aim to reach the semi finals of Europe’s premier cup competition two years consecutively for the first time since 1967.

Perspective; It’s a curious concept that allows you to view something and from it draw two completely contrasting conclusions.

For example, 3 months ago the last thing on Inters’ mind would have been a trip to Germany. The team had just suffered a humiliating 3-0 loss to Werder Bremen and they were languishing  in 7th place in Serie A with the prospect of more scholarly pre match training sessions from Rafa Benitez that involved –amongst other things - striker-less formation ideas. Morale was low, the outlook was bleak and the glass half empty.

Now though, after the incredible and dramatic last gasp victory against Bayern Munich that has put the team into the last 8 of the Champions League, a manager that makes the team smile and the opportunity to go one point clear at the top of the table if they beat neighbours Milan – the idea of returning Germany to face arguably the weakest side left in the tournament Schalke is something Inter cannot wait for. Morale is brimming, the outlook extremely hopeful and the glass very much half full.

The result is made even more welcome by the fact that one of the biggest successes behind Schalke’s success in the past couple of years – Felix Magath – will not be on the bench after the club decided to sack the ‘disciplinarian’. Now with the German club seemingly in a state of chaos, Inter have perhaps been given the easiest tie possible and can finally avenge their Uefa cup Final loss in 1997. Certainly Luis Figo, Inter’s ambassador, believes so, and is even daring to look a little further down the line.

“We are happy because in the case that we go beyond the quarter-finals we’ll not find Real Madrid or Barcelona” Luis Figo

Certainly avoiding the Spanish giants has been a minor success in itself, but potentially facing either Chelsea or Manchester United in the Semi’s is still a prospect fraught with danger that brings its own problems.

Chelsea eased into the quarters after dispatching FC Kobenhavn without the slightest hint of getting out of second gear. In Carlo Ancelotti the London club not only have a vastly experienced manager who’s part of an elite club to have won the trophy more than once, but somebody who’s dumped Inter out of the tournament on more than one occasion; most notably en route to winning his first title as Milan manager back in 2003, which was also at the semi final stage.

This will be the first time that the two English sides have met in Europe since the 2008 final in Moscow, and the Chelsea boss was keen to distance the club from that tie.

“You have to consider the past. The players can be reminded they lost against Manchester United but also they can be reminded that we won last year and we won this season against them. The past is the past“ Carlo Ancelotti

On the other side of the draw, Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid face Tottenham Hotspurs in a tie that doesn’t really suit either side. Whilst the Spanish Giants were great value for their win over Lyon in the last 16, Spurs slightly rode their luck to get past AC Milan. The victors from this fixture will meet either Barcelona or the tournament dark horses Shakhtar Donetsk. The Ukrainian outfit efficiently saw off Roma and will need to continue their impressive record of being undefeated in almost two years at home, if they’re to stand any chance of getting past the tournament favourites Barcelona; and thus spoil the neutrals hopes of el clásico en Europa.

With all the Champions League news dominating the media, spare a thought for Giuseppe Rossi. The Italian international is the Europa League’s top scorer and ensures that the peninsula will still have a say in the competition despite no Italian teams involved since February. Rossi and his bunch of merry yellow submariners Villareal are through to play FC Twente in the quarter finals and will play either FC Porto or Spartak Moscow in the Semi’s.

Champions League Full Draw:


Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea v Manchester United

Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk

Inter* v Schalke 04

First legs to take place on Tues 5th/Weds 6th April, second legs on Tues 12th/Weds 13th April.



Inter* or Schalke 04 v Chelsea or Manchester United
Real Madrid or Tottenham v Barcelona or Shakhtar Donetsk

First legs to take place on Tues 26th/Weds 27th April, second legs on Tues 3rh/Weds 4th Mayl.


Europa League Full Draw

Porto  v Spartak Moscow
Benfica v PSV Eindhoven
Villarreal* v FC Twente
Braga v Dynamo Kiev
First legs to take place on 7th April, second legs on 14th April

Braga/Dynamo v Benfica/PSV
Porto/Spartak v Villarreal*/Twente
First legs to take place on 28th April, second legs on 5th May

Qasa Alom

Broadcast Journalist. Writer for Serieaweekly, subtitled online or anyone else daft enough to want me. These are my thoughts (even the clever ones)

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