Serie A outfit Inter Milan are all set to host Spanish giants Real Madrid for Matchday 1 of the 2021-22 Champions League. This encounter will be a good entertainer for neutrals as two big clubs going head to head. Both sides will be keen to start their Champions League group stage campaign with a win.
Simone Inzaghi is currently doing a pretty good job with the Milan side in Serie A. After taking over the club from Antonio Conte, Inzaghi is having a decent start with Inter this season. However, this encounter against Real Madrid will be a real test for the new manager at Milan.
Inter Milan vs Real Madrid preview
Both Inter Milan and Real Madrid did face each other last time in the same Champions League group. Real Madrid will be hoping for a better start to their Champions League campaign. The Spanish side have been the most successful side in this competition in the past. Carlo Ancelotti is currently leading the side after Zidane was sacked over the summer.
Real Madrid had a dominating win over Celta Vigo in LaLiga on Sunday. The Los Blancos thrashed Celta Vigo with a scoreline of 5-2. The away side did score the first goal in the fourth minute of the game, however, Real Madrid came back strong to win the game. While Inter comes into this game after a 2-2 draw against Sampdoria.
When and Where?
Italian side Inter Milan will host Real Madrid at the San Siro Stadium in the Group D game of Champions League on Thursday, September 16th (12:30 AM IST).
Team News and Predicted Lineup:
The Nerazzurri have no big concerns in their squad in terms of injury. While Gabriel Brazao will be out of this game due to a knee injury, who is a second-choice goalie at the club. Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez might miss this important fixture as well due to the injury. However, Inter has a good combination of Joaquin Correa and Lautaro Martinez upfront.
Expected Lineup: Samir Handanovic (GK); Danilo D’Ambrosio, Milan Skriniar, Alessandro Bastoni, Stefan de Vrij, Ivan Perisic; Marcelo Brozovic, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu; Joaquin Correa; Lautaro Martinez
Real Madrid also has no big injury concerns in their squad ahead of Matchday 1 of the Champions League. Dani Ceballos is still recovering and might miss the game against Inter on Thursday. Apart from Ceballos, Toni Kroos is another player, who is recovering, but the German is expected to be available for selection.
Expected Lineup: Thibaut Courtois (GK); Dani Caravajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba, Miguel Guttierez; Federico Valverde, Casemiro, Luka Modric; Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale
Head to Head stats- Inter Milan vs Real Madrid:
Both these sides met against each other twice last year in the same Champions League tourney. Real Madrid and Inter Milan faced off against each other in the Group B fixtures last term. The Los Blancos were the dominant side and won both home and away fixtures against Inter.
The first game had five goals with a scoreline of 3-2 in favour of the Spanish side. While the second game at San Siro also went in Real Madrid’s way. Former Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal was sent off in that particular game. Real Madrid won that game by a 0-2 scoreline. Apart from last season’s games, both these sides met back in 2015, which was also won by Madrid.
Key Players to watch out for
Lautaro Martinez- Inter Milan
The Argentine forward Lautaro Martinez is in a great run of form and will be a vital player for Inzaghi against Madrid. The centre-forward can be a threat to Madrid’s defence, which is quite weak in comparison to last season. However, the striker has been good this term even without his strike partner Lukaku.
Martinez was rumoured to leave the club this season, but Inter have managed to keep hold of their star. Lautaro has scored two goals in two games for Inter Milan this season in Serie A. He also found the net thrice in six appearances for Argentina in Copa America. Both Joaquin Correa and Martinez might be serious threats inside the box on Thursday.
Karim Benzema – Real Madrid
The French striker is having a dream start with Real Madrid in LaLiga. Benzema had a good comeback with his national side at Euro 2020. He did manage to score four goals in four appearances for France. However, France couldn’t reach the final stages of the competition this time. Karim Benzema will be hoping to continue his goal-scoring form in the Champions League as well.
Benzema has played every minute this season in LaLiga under Ancelotti. The Frenchmen has delivered the goods as expected by his boss this term. The veteran striker has an astonishing record so far this season in terms of goals and assists. Benzema has five goals and four assists to his name in five games. Ancelotti will be expecting him to step up against Inter on Thursday.
12th Man Prediction
Inter Milan have the home advantage, but still, it’ll be a tight game for Milan against Madrid. The visitors are coming in with good form and might continue their good record at San Siro stadium in recent times. The game might end in favour of Real Madrid with a scoreline of 0-2 at the famous San Siro on Thursday.