Preview and Predictions
In arguably the biggest fixture of the opening day of the Champions League, 2010 winners Inter Milan host Bayern Munich at the San Siro.
Inter Milan is the process of rediscovering the fearsome reputation they once enjoyed in Europe and will relish the chance to lay down a marker with a win at the San Siro.
Bayern Munich have dominated the Bundesliga for decades and recently underlined their domestic supremacy with a sixth Champions League title in 2020 on their way to a treble of trophies.
The last time Inter Milan won the Champions League, they also completed a treble by beating Bayern Minich in the UCL final 12 years ago. Between these two sides, they have 9 Champions League wins with Bayern’s 6 titles giving them twice the number Inter have won.
The pedigree of these teams sets up a mouthwatering clash to kick off what promises to be another entertaining Champions League campaign.
Head to Head
These teams last met in the 2011 UCL group stage when both teams picked up away wins.
The last 5 Champions League meetings between the sides have been evenly split, each side has won twice with one match ending in a draw.
Inter Milan go into this fixture licking their wounds after a painful Derby della Madonnina loss. Currently 9th on the Serie table, they have had a rollercoaster start to the season. They followed up a 3-1 loss to Lazio with a bounce-back win over Cremonese then went down 3-2 to AC Milan in the very next match. (W-W-L-W-L)
Bayern are usually top of the Bundesliga by the time they start their Champions League campaign. That is not the case this time around, as a draw with Union Berlin condemns them to third place, one point behind league leaders Dortmund and Freiburg. (W-W-W-D-D)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan recovered from injury to make his debut in the Milan derby and will be in the squad on Wednesday.
However, Romelu Lukaku is still out injured and it remains to be seen what midfield trio Simone Inzaghi will field with his tendency to be conservative in big matches.
Potential Inter Milan starting XI: Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni, Dumfries; Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Gosens; Martinez, Dzeko. (3-5-2)
Jamal Musiala and Leon Goretzka both recovered from injury to play against Union Berlin. This gives Julian Nagelsmann a healthy roster to select from for the clash with Inter apart from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Groin injury) .
However, there are likely going to be team rotations following some below par performances in the last match
Potential Bayern starting XI: Neuer; Pavard, De Ligt, Hernandez, Davies; Sabitzer, Kimmich; Gnabry, Muller, Sane; Mane. (4-2-3-1)
Simone Inzaghi has somehow improved the side he inherited from Antonio Conte. In his first season, he got Inter Milan to the last 16, a feat Antonio Cone could not achieve in two tries.
However, his biggest undoing is a tendency to play cautiously in big games. If he goes with this strategy against Bayern it could backfire.
Bayern Munich have underperformed by their standards. They have played back-to-back 1-1 draws and will be eager to produce a reaction to throw down the gauntlet in a group that also includes Barcelona.
Romelu Lukaku’s injury blunts the Inter Milan attack, his replacement Edin Dzeko, does not have the pace the Belgian possesses.
If Inzaghi sticks with his preferred 3-5-2 formation, Bayern’s wingers will look to exploit the space behind the wingbacks and trouble the Inter Milan back three.
Historically, these teams have travelled well and are capable of winning in hostile environments. Bayern have enough pace to trouble Inter Milan. Bayern win 2-1
Bayern win at @ 1.85
Over 2.5 goals scored @ 1.50