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Europa League Preview: Dnipro vs. Inter

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The Nerazzurri look to continue their strong start to the new campaign with a victory in Kiev...

Marco Luzzani

Inter kicks off its Europa League group stage adventure with a trip to Ukraine to face Dnipro on Thursday.

The Nerazzurri are feeling good about themselves after making short work of Stjarnan in the playoffs and walloping Sassuolo 7-0 in Serie A action on Sunday.

The goals have been flowing freely for Inter, which has scored 16 in its first four games of the season.

However, Beneamata manager Walter Mazzarri is wary of the threat posed by Dnipro, which is undefeated in its last seven games in all competitions.

"We always go out there to win but Ukrainian sides never make it easy," Mazzarri said in a press conference.

"Dnipro is in great shape fitness-wise and it is a strong, aggressive side."

Inter is the favourite with the bookmakers and is undefeated in seven matches against Ukrainian clubs in European competition, but it won't be a walk in the park by any means.

With one eye on the Serie A clash with Palermo on Sunday, Mazzarri's men will do well to get in and out without any injuries and at least a point in tow.  

THE VITALS

Date: Thursday, September 18

Time: 1:00 pm EST

Venue: Olimpiyskiy Stadium

BATTLE DOSSIER

Inter Probable Formation: 3-5-2:
Handanovic; Ranocchia, Vidic, Juan Jesus; Jonathan, M'Vila, Hernanes, Guarin, Dodo; Osvaldo, Icardi

Dnipro Probable Formation: 4-2-3-1: Boyko; Strinic, Douglas, Mazuch, Fedetskiy; Kankava, Luchkevych; Konoplyanka, Kravchenko, Gama; Seleznyov

Unavailable For Duty: Mateo Kovacic suffered a minor ankle injury in training and will likely be kept out for precautionary reasons. Yuto Nagatomo is not 100% after picking up a knock while Gary Medel is suspended after receiving his marching orders while playing for Sevilla in 2012.

Operation Orange Valour: The objective is to show solidarity with our Ukrainian brothers and put on a show of goodwill and sportsmanship.

Enemy Of The State: Yevhen Konoplyanka has been linked to a host of Premier League teams and will be keen to strut his stuff on the big stage against a marquee opponent. The 24-year-old winger will be eager to make a name for himself at the expense of Inter's backline.

Medal Of Honour: Mauro Icardi will be in a confident mood after netting his first hattrick with the Nerazzurri last Sunday. The young striker is starting to come into his own and is a threat to score every time he steps on to the pitch.

Fear Factor: 6.5: Dnipro is as frightening as taking up the foreign exchange student's invitation for dinner at his/her place for the first time. You're not sure what you're going to get. It could go in a multitude of different directions.

Likely Outcome: The Nerazzurri are on a roll right now and although they won't waltz into Kiev and force the hosts into submission, they will do enough to sneak out a 2-1 victory.