Champions League Round Of 16 Preview: Inter v Bayern

Last season’s finalists meet again, the Italian versus the German champion, I Nerazzurri play against die Roten. No matter how you say it, this sounds like an interesting matchup. The first leg is going to take place in Milan’s San Siro tonight. Here’s my preview:

If you read my last article you already know why I don’t think this can be seen as any kind of revenge for the lost CL final. I’d gladly accept a 4-0 loss tonight if it meant that Bayern won the final and I’m sure most Inter fans think that way now. They surely want their team to win but if it doesn’t happen, so what, the title is still theirs.

Aside from the last meeting (you all know the result), Bayern and Inter met twice in the 2006-07 group stage. Two late goals by Podolski and Pizarro, both not a part of the team anymore, lead to a 2-0 win for the FCB in Milan, the meaningless game in Munich ended in a tie (1-1, Makaay/Vieira). As you can see, all four goal scorers left their team years ago so they will not score again (Podolski: Cologne, Pizarro: Bremen, Makaay: retired, Vieira: Man City).

Inter’s group stage performances were very inconsistent. They started with a tie in Enschede, beat Werder at home (4-0) just to lose in Bremen (3-0), a loss that cost them the group win. Still unforgotten is the home match against the Tottenham Hotspurs: a 4-0 lead at half time was just big enough to resist Gareth Bale’s hat-trick rage.

Since then, Rafa Benitez has been fired and replaced by Leonardo, former AC Milan legend. The Brazilian managed to start an impressive Serie A comeback. The title defense which seemed impossible a few months ago being 10+ points behind the local rival is realistic now.

Possible Lineups

The hosts are probably gonna use a 4-3-2-1 formation but a 4-2-3-1 isn’t unlikely either. I can’t guarantee that their central midfield will look like this, we might find Zanetti playing against Ribery instead.

Bayern will use the usual 4-2-3-1. I don’t expect any changes from the last matches’ lineup but a Pranjic-Gustavo swap can always happen. It’s also possible that Toni Kroos replaces Danijel Pranjic but I’d be surprised, he has only played 25 minutes since returning from an injury.

If you’re looking for a prediction, you’re wrong here. Not only am I not a fan of predictions in general, this match is, at least in my opinion, totally unpredictable. Let’s enjoy the game and, as usual, hope for a Bayern win.

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