Europa League blockbusters on today as quarterfinals begin

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Ole Gunnar Solksjaer,Manchester United,FC Copenhagen,Inter Milan,Bayer Leverkusan,Romelu Lukaku,Europa League,Paul Pogba,Bruno Fernandes,David DeGea

Photo: Manchester United Manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer desperately wants the Europa Cup trophy this season (Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

The quarterfinal round of the Europa League begins today with two tantalizing games to be played at neutral venues in Germany.

Manchester United who finished third in the English Premier League will take on FC Copenhagen who are champions of Denmark, at the Stadion Koln, while Inter Milan who were second in the Serie A will battle Bayer Leverkusen at Dusseldorf Arena. Both games will be played at the same time, beginning at 3:00pm EST.

United last won the competition in 2017 and having finished the EPL strongly, will be looking to book their semifinal spot ahead of their less celebrated opponents who are reaching this stage of the competition for the first time in their history.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made it clear that winning the competition has become a top priority for him and will be happy to have all his players fit and available for the game.

The Paul Pogba/Bruno Fernandes partnership has flourished for United and with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood scoring goals at will, the Copenhagen defenders could be in for a long night.

At the other end of the pitch, the form of David DeGea has been a major cause for concern, with his two howlers against Chelsea in the FA Cup costing them a place in the final. Nonetheless, Solksjaer has continued to back his under fire goalkeeper. It will be interesting to see if he gets the nod today after Sergio Romero was between the sticks against LASK on Friday.  

The Copenhagen team comes into the game with less pressure and will be looking to continue to defy the odds having surprisingly disposed of Basaksahir 3-1 in the previous round.

They will have confidence after coming from a losing position, having lost the first leg 0-1 in Turkey before pulling off a 3-0 win at home.

Having finished runners-up to Juventus in the Serie A by a single point, Inter Milan will be going full force in this game against a Bayer Leverkusen team that also knows what it means to finish second best this term. after the lost the German Cup final to Bayern Munich a few weeks ago.  

Neither team has had much joy in Europe in years and will be hoping to make the most of this opportunity.

The last time Inter was in Europe was a decade ago when they went on to win the Champions League. For Leverkusen the wait has been much longer, who have not been in this competition since 2007-2008 when most of their current squad would have been playing youth football.

Romelu Lukaku has had a brilliant season in front of goal for Inter this season and will be looking to be amongst the goals again, for the Italians. He has scored in his last eight appearances in the Europa League, stretching back to 2014-2015 with Everton and could be the difference maker today.