After three straight years of heartbreak on Matchday 6, Inter can finally walk into the last outing of the Champions League group stage with minimal stress. The Nerazzurri’s 2-0 win over Shakhtar booked its ticket to the next round for the first time in a decade, but the good guys can go one step further Tuesday in Madrid. A win over Los Blancos at the Santiago Bernabéu would hand first place to Simone Inzaghi’s side. But Inter will need a perfect performance (and then some) if it's to take all three points from Real Madrid and the lethal Vinicius Junior.
Like Inter, Real Madrid has only improved since the first meeting between these sides back on September 15th. Its risen above the pack in La Liga and currently holds an eight-point lead over Sevilla with 39 points and an impressive 12W-3T-1L record. Los Blancos are currently riding an eight-game win streak and last lost on October 3rd to Espanyol. Its tally of 37 goals scored is far and away the best mark in La Liga, while it averages less than one goal conceded per match. The main man in the Spanish capital, Karim Benzema (who has 17 goals and 7 assists through 20 appearances), will miss Tuesday’s encounter through injury but Madrid is far from short on attacking options even without the Frenchman. Vinicius Junior (12g, 5a) is approaching superstar status and has taken massive strides of improvement under Ancelotti’s reign. Benzema’s replacement, Luka Jovic, is no stranger to scoring against Inter while Rodrygo has bagged the game-winner in two of the last three Inter-Real clashes.
Clearly, Inter’s defense will have its work cut out for it, but the good guys showed it can (almost) shut down the Real attack once already this season. The Nerazzurri dominated the home leg three months ago only to fall to a late Rodrygo winner after missing chance after chance at Thibaut Courtois’s goal. With a little luck, coming out on top this time isn’t out of the question for Inter.
- 0-1 (H), 15/9/21
- 3-2 (A), 3/11/20
- 0-2 (H), 25/11/20
Predicted Starting XIs
Inter’s injury list is showing no signs of shortening. Joaquin Correa injury suffered against Roma is likely to rule him out the rest of the year. On the plus side, Lautaro Martinez should be fully rested after going an unused sub on the weekend.
Prediction: Real Madrid 2-3 Inter Milan
With no (or at least minimal) pressure, Inter will go to Madrid and get the job done after an entertaining ninety minutes. A late Dzeko winner will give the Nerazzurri the edge after a Lautaro brace and strikes from Asensio and Vinicius.