The UEFA Champions League returns midweek as we embark on matchday three of the group stage. Many of the pools are as competitive as we have predicted, with followers already treated to their fair share of upsets and surprising results. Which teams will grab the headlines and secure three vital points? There are plenty of eye-catching matches to choose from, including a battle of Britain at Anfield involving Liverpool and Rangers. On this page, we focus on the mouth-watering match in Italy where Inter Milan take on Barcelona.
In the not-too-distant past, this fixture had the calibre to be a worthy Champions League final and both teams are steeped in history, having already enjoyed success in Europe. Barcelona isn’t the force they once were, following several off-field and financial difficulties, but they appear to be well along the road to recovery. On Tuesday, a win for the Spaniards in Milan would help prove this, silencing their critics. Will they achieve victory live on television?
The history books show Inter Milan and Barcelona have met 14 times in the past, with the head-to-head stats showing the La Liga giants enjoy the lion’s share of victories with eight wins against the two Inter Milan and four draws. The most recent clash occurred in December 2019 when Barca stretched their lead with a 2-1 win in Italy. If you follow the stats when making your predictions, you may be interested to learn each of the last two games has finished with a 2-1 win for Barcelona. Inter’s most recent victory over Barca came back in 2010.
Group of death
Every season, we have at least one pool referred to as the “group of death”. This is a section involving two or more big names from European football that has a strong chance of winning the set and qualifying for the knockout stages on a high. This season, there are a few claims on the group of death, but one stands head and shoulders above the competition, and that is Group C. Here we have Inter Milan, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Viktoria Plzen. We don’t like to write any team off at this level, but it’s fair to say Plzen are the outsiders.
That leaves us with three world-famous teams from Italian, Spanish and German football, three of Europe’s biggest competitions. It would be no major surprise to see either Inter Milan, Barcelona, or Bayern Munich go on to win the trophy. But which side will take the three points on offer and boost their chances of getting out of the group? Remember, we will lose at least one of the three big names. Will knockout football be played in 2023, minus Inter Milan? Fans certainly hope not, and the club remain in the running.
Inter Milan heads into this home match with a decent record, having won one game and lost the other. They are currently third in the pile with the three points earned leaving them one win off the pace set by Bayern Munich and level on points with Barcelona, although the Spaniards have a better goal difference. Victory for Milan would change the lie of the land, catapulting Inter into the running for that all-important second place finish, providing the German Bundesliga champions do as expected, hold their ground and win the division.
Barca has it all to play for
Barcelona fans have endured a difficult few months and were forced to release their star player Lionel Messi in a desperate attempt to balance the books. How have the club fared without their most influential player, who is now on the books of PSG in France? Losing a man of Messi’s quality is never easy, and it did take the club a while to re-adjust. But they appear to be back on form and firing in La Liga and the Champions League. The visitors know they have a great chance of getting out of this group if they secure three points on Tuesday.
Barca has played two, won one and lost one, meaning they are level on three points with Inter Milan, sit three points behind Bayern Munich and are three better than bottom club Viktoria Plzen who already look to be out of their depth here. The visitors have scored five goals but conceded three, with a two-goal positive tally meaning they are a pair of goals better than Inter, who scored two and conceded two. There is a feeling amongst football fans that this one will go right down to the wire.
They opened their account with a win at the first time of asking, hammering Plzen 5-1 at the Camp Nou, and they achieved that without ever hitting top gear. Following that four-goal victory in the Champions League, Barca beat Cadiz 4-0 in La Liga, lost 2-0 in Munich, hammered Elche 3-0 and was last seen beating Mallorca 1-0 at the weekend. That win was achieved thanks to a goal from Lewandowski in 20 minutes, sending his team to the top of the league after champions Real Madrid dropped two points.
Inter Milan v Barcelona prediction
Inter Milan holds the home advantage for this match, which should make the difference. If the Italians play to the best of their abilities and are as strong in defence as we expect at home, they have a great chance of landing the points. The winner of this game will quickly become the favourites to progress from the group, making it to the knockout rounds, although nothing will be decided on Tuesday.
Barcelona has it in the tank to win this match and the fact they hit the top of La Liga at the weekend means they arrive with confidence to spare. Even without Messi, this is a team good enough to beat any opponent at this level, so Barcelona shouldn’t be easily written off.
Champions League odds
The pre-match betting odds available to 22bet members have Inter Milan at 4.12 to win the game with Barcelona 1.765 and the draw 4.08.
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