Borussia Monchengladbach return to Champions League action after a four-year absence but they couldn’t have asked for a more daunting first game than visiting Inter Milan on Wednesday at 8pm.
Inter XI: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Kolarov; Darmian, Barella, Vidal, Perisic; Eriksen; Alexis Sánchez, Lukaku
Gladbach XI: Sommer; Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Lainer, Kramer, Neuhaus, Hofmann; Embolo, Pléa, Thuram
Where to watch Inter Milan vs Borussia Monchengladbach on TV:
- UK: BT Sport Extra 2
- US: CBS All Access
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Inter Milan vs Borussia Monchengladbach build-up, pre-match team news & previous line-ups:
Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk complete an ominous looking Group B, adding further emphasis for both Inter and Gladbach to get a result at the San Siro.
The hosts enter this match fresh from defeat in the Milan derby, having lost 2-1 to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired Rossoneri, while Gladbach played out a 1-1 stalemate with Wolfsburg on Saturday.
Antonio Conte reached the Europa League final last season, but he will be hoping his side do not crash out of the Champions League group stages this time round. For him to do so, Inter will have to improve upon their recent form in the competition, which stands at just two wins from their last 10 games.
For Gladbach, manager Marco Rose has only lost two of his 18 group stage games in European competition, but this will be his first ever appearance in the Champions League. Can he get a debut win in the competition? Or will Conte bounce back from the Milan derby debacle?
- Inter Milan (vs AC Milan): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Kolarov; Hakimi, Brozovic, Vidal, Barella, Perisic; Lukaku, Martinez.
- Borussia Monchengladbach (vs Wolfsburg): Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Wendt; Kramer, Neuhaus, Hofmann, Stindl, Thuram; Embolo.
Ashley Young, Roberto Gagliardini and Milan Skriniar all remain out for Conte, but he does welcome back Alessandro Bastoni, meaning he won’t have to play two full-backs alongside Stefan de Vrij in his three-man defence, as he did in the Milan derby. Stefano Sensi missed the match through suspension but should return on Wednesday, while Alexis Sanchez is a doubt, as is Matias Vecino.
For Gladbach, Valentino Lazaro, Andreas Poulsen, Denis Zakaria and Laszlo Benes are all sidelined, but Alassane Plea should return to the starting XI having sat out over the weekend.
Players to watch:
Inter Milan: Romelu Lukaku was quite scintillating last season, scoring wise, recording his best ever return for a single campaign: 34 goals. To put into context just how prolific he was (and still is), only Robert Lewandowski (15) and Erling Haaland (10) have netted more in European competitions since the start of last season. The Belgian was quite brilliant as Inter reached the Europa League final and has nine goals in 11 games for the club in continental football. Conte will be hoping for more of the same on Wednesday.
Borussia Monchengladbach: Inter have a squad brimming with elite European experience, ranging from Aleksandar Kolarov to Alexis Sanchez, so Gladbach will have to be alert to the danger of a side well-versed in this competition. Fortunately for Rose he has stalwart Lars Stindl in his ranks, a player who has five Champions League goals to his name — which makes him Gladbach’s top scorer — and has been directly involved in eight across his 11 appearances in this competition (five goals, three assists). Inter may be welcoming back Bastoni to their defence, but Conte must be wary of the threat Stindl poses up front, particularly if he has Plea and Breel Embolo making runs off him.
Scoreline prediction: Inter Milan 3-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
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