Inter avoided some of the Europa League’s tricky ties by being placed in Group H, alongside Russia’s Rubin Kazan, Serbian outfit Partizan Belgrade and Neftchi Baku PFC from Azerbaijan. Inter should expect to win this group and progress to the knockout stages as groups winners.
Inter previously met Rubin Kazan in the 2009/10 Champions League group stage, drawing 1-1 in Russia before emerging as 2-0 victors from the reverse fixture at the Stadio Meazza.
The Nerazzurri first played Partizan Belgrade back in the 1963/64 season, then again in 1990/91. A European Cup quarter-final first leg took place in Belgrade on 26 February 1964: Jair and Mazzola gave Inter a 2-0 victory. A 4-1 aggregate result was completed at the Stadio Meazza on 4 March when Corso and Jair got the goals in a 2-1 win. In 1990, the two sides clashed in the UEFA Cup round of 16. Inter gained a strong foothold after the first leg in Belgrade on 28 November (3-0, Matthaus, Mandorlini and Bianchi), before a 1-1 draw in the return match saw them through.
Inter have never played Neftchi Baku PFC.
Andrea Stramaccioni seemed more worried about the air miles that Inter will be racking up, rather than the opponents saying:
“The draw was unfortunate for us from a logistical point of view. We’ll be faced with uncomfortable away trips that risk having a knock-on effect on the following game on Sunday. But that’s one of the perils of the Europa League and we knew it.”
“As far as the football is concerned, this is where the competition really starts. Our aim is to qualify for the knockout stage.”