Inter Milan welcome Real Madrid to the San Siro in Group B of the Champions League on Wednesday at 8pm, with both clubs in desperate need of points.
Group B has largely mirrored the unpredictability of Europe’s top five leagues this season, with favourites for progression – Inter and Real – currently fourth and third respectively, while Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Monchengladbach are unexpectedly leading the way.
The frantic opening rounds were encapsulated in the reverse fixture of this contest just before the international break, where both sides played out a five-goal thriller at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, which saw Real sneak a 3-2 win.
That result has left Antonio Conte’s side rooted to the foot of the table and without a win in three games; the Nerazzurri simply have to put points on the board if they are to avoid dropping out of the group stages for successive seasons.
Los Blancos are yet to beat Inter away from home in European competition, but Zinedine Zidane has masterminded seven wins out of eight in the Champions League against Italian opposition, and he will take confidence from the home win three weeks ago.
Where to watch Inter Milan vs Real Madrid on TV:
UK: BT Sport ESPN
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Inter Milan & Real Madrid’s previous line-ups:
Inter Milan (vs Torino): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Ranocchia, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Gagliardini, Vidal, Young; Lukaku, Sanchez.
Real Madrid (vs Villarreal): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Kroos, Odegaard, Vazquez, Hazard; Mariano.
Marcelo Brozovic, Aleksandr Kolarov, Daniele Padelli, Matias Vecino and Stefano Sensi are all major doubts and expected to sit this one out, while Stefan de Vrij and Milan Skriniar — who both started on the bench in the 4-2 win over Torino — are likely to be restored to Conte’s XI
Real Madrid will be without captain Sergio Ramos, Federico Valverde, Luka Jovic and Alvaro Odriozola, while Karim Benzema, Casemiro and Eder Militao all missed the weekend draw with Villarreal but could return on Wednesday.
Players to watch:
Inter Milan: Conte travelled to Madrid earlier this month without star striker Romelu Lukaku, and while he returned to southern Europe with a loss on the board, his side did manage to score twice, and Lautaro Martinez was involved in both of those goals. Having gone 2-0 down, the Argentine combined quite brilliantly with Nicolo Barella to get Inter back in contention, before teeing up Ivan Perisic after the break. Unfortunately for Conte, five of Martinez’s six goals for Inter in the Champions League have been scored on the road, while he has netted just once in six at the San Siro. But, he will be desperate to rectify that troubling metric and fire Inter to a first win in Europe this season, which could see him heavily involved in the outcome of this tie.
Real Madrid: Having come off the bench to snatch the winner in the reverse fixture, Rodrygo could be rewarded for his efforts with a start later this week. The Brazilian teenager has been directly involved in eight goals in eight Champions League games for Los Blancos (five goals, three assists) since joining the Madrid giants from Santos last year. And with Eden Hazard yet to open his European account for the club in eight attempts since relocating from Chelsea, Zidane could look to Rodrygo to be his difference-maker, either from the off or at some stage in this contest.
Scoreline prediction: Inter Milan 2-2 Real Madrid
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