Real Madrid face Internazionale at the Giuseppe Meazza in a blockbuster Group B clash of the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League. Surprisingly, the two teams are placed third and fourth in their group, respectively. They are below Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk in the table. After a slow start to the group stage of the competition, a loss for either team is will kill their hopes of qualification.
After a challenging four-game winless run, the Italian side finally got a bit of a respite this weekend. The Nerazzurri found themselves 2-0 down after 62 minutes. An inspired last 30 minutes from Romelu Lukaku helped them turn things around. The Belgian striker scored a brace while also assisting twice. His strikes were sandwiched between goals from Alexis Sanchez and Lautaro Martinez. This gave Inter an incredible 4-2 win against Torino. The Italian side have plenty of reasons to be optimistic given Lukaku's form following an injury.
Madrid themselves are currently struggling for form. Valencia hammered them 4-1 before the international break. Following this, they played yet another stalemate. Their 1-1 draw away against Villarreal was a largely uninspiring performance.
But the Spanish side will know a victory against Inter could be history. The Italian side has never gone winless in their first 4 European Cup/UEFA Champions League games in a single campaign.
The last time the two sides met was in the reverse fixture earlier this November. At Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, the Los Blancos won 3-2.
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Inter will be without three players due to coronavirus. Both Aleksandar Kolarov and backup goalkeeper Daniele Padelli are currently self-isolating with the virus. Midfielder Marcelo Brozovic has also been reported to have contracted COVID. Hence he will also have to sit the game out. Meanwhile, Stefano Sensi could also certainly miss the game as his muscular problems may rule him out of playing all 90 minutes of this match.
Madrid have been slightly more fortunate on the COVID front. Only Luka Jovic has been diagnosed with the virus during the international break. However, they are still going to be without Sergio Ramos. The Madrid skipper is will be out for couple of weeks with a hamstring tear. Meanwhile, striker Karim Benzema is also unlikely to feature for the full 90 minutes. Federico Valverde will also be absent with a knee injury and Alvaro Odriozola is also doubtful after struggling with a calf problem.
Inter (5-3-2): Handanovic; Hakimi, D'Ambrosio, De Vrij, Bastoni, Young; Barella, Eriksen, Vidal; Lukaku, Martinez.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Militao, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Asensio, Mariano, Hazard.
Los Blancos have never beaten Inter at the San Siro. It seems unlikely that the Spanish side will manage to break the jinx. Madrid’s injury-hit defence and the absence of their star players makes this a very difficult clash. Meanwhile, Lukaku's return will bolster Inter's morale. This might help Inter dominate major parts of the game and seal the victory.