As the Champions League group stage reaches the second half of its schedule, Inter Milan will take on Sheriff Tiraspol in Moldova, or Transnistria, as they may prefer. A victory would see Inter break into the top two of Group D and put the Nerazzurri in the driver's seat for advancing to the knockout rounds of the Champions League for the first time since 2012. Sheriff played well on their trip to Milan, and will be a tough challenge as they have yet to lose at home in the competition proper.
The Cinderella story of the Champions League so far this season, Sheriff have yet to lose at home, defeating Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 on the first matchday. Inter handed them their first loss in the competition in the last Champions League matchday. They still produced a good showing despite the loss, threatening the Inter goal on multiple occasions and scoring through a stunning Sebastien Thill free-kick.
Crucially for Sheriff, their first-choice goalkeeper Georgios Athanasiadis will be back for the match, after missing the previous fixture between these two clubs. Outside of the return of the Greek keeper, Sheriff have everyone else from their 3-1 loss to Inter available to face them for a second time to attempt to reverse their fortunes against the Italian champions.
Inter started this Champions League season with a loss and a draw, but still control their own destiny. A second consecutive victory over Sheriff would make up the two-point difference between the two clubs. Simone Inzaghi has been giving generous playing time to a large portion of the squad to keep everyone fresh for matches like this.
The rotation is expected to continue with the Milan Derby coming up on the weekend. Stefan de Vrij should return after being rested against Udinese. Alessandro Bastoni will likely be the defender getting rest on Wednesday, with Federico Dimarco taking his spot as he did against Sheriff two weeks ago. Arturo Vidal and Matteo Darmian may give rest to Hakan Calhanoglu and Denzel Dumfries while Lautaro Martinez should return to partner with Edin Dzeko.
3-1 (H) - 19/10/2021
Predicted Starting XIs
SHERIFF (4-2-3-1): Athanasiadis; Fernando, Arboleda, Dulanto, Cristiano; Addo, Thill; Traoré, Kolovos, Castañeda; Bruno.
INTER (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Dimarco; Darmian, Barella, Brozovic, Vidal, Perisic; Lautaro, Dzeko.
Prediction: Sheriff 1-2 Inter
This match should be a bit more challenging than the previous fixture between the two, as Sheriff will be more comfortable in their own stadium. A motivated and confident Inter side should be able to go in and grind out the win on the back of two consecutive Serie A clean sheet victories. Set pieces will be important for Inter, who will need some production from dead ball situations to get over the hump and put together consecutive Champions League wins for the first time since 2018.