Inter hasn’t had the luxury of a stress-free Matchday 6 in the Champions League in a long time (even last season there was at least a hope of taking first from Real Madrid) and it sure felt nice to sit through an as hectic as ever final 90 minutes of the group stage without breaking a sweat. Unfortunately, Bayern Munich didn’t need to either, cruising to a 2-0 victory over a heavily rotated that never quite managed to spring any surprises.
Usually seeing Roberto Gagliardini in the starting eleven (against Bayern in the Champions League no less) is cause for concern amongst Interisti, but this time the good guys were able to enter Matchday 6 of the UCL without worries. Both Inter and Bayern had already clinched 2nd and 1st respectively in Group C, and that showed in the starting lineups of Simone Inzaghi and Julian Nagelsmann. The latter was without a number of key players anyway (Sane, Mueller, and Neuer) while Inzaghi gave rare starts to Robin Gosens, Kristjan Asllani, and Raoul Bellanova.
Despite the lack of stakes, the atmosphere at the Allianz Arena was fully suited to a matchup between clubs with the resumes of Inter and Bayern. The visitors came closest to opening the scoring in the opening stages via a pair of efforts from Nicolo Barella. The first of which was a long-range shot that forced Bayern’s veteran backup keeper Sven Ulreich into a full-stretch save in the 7th minute. Barella then had a volley blocked by the hands of Sadio Mane on the ensuing corner and though the referee went to the VAR monitor, he decided not to give a penalty since Mane only used his hands as a reflex to keep Barella’s shot from blowing his head off.
Bayern gained the upper hand as the game progressed and began to dominate possession, though it was Inter that had the next big chance when a Gosens cross found Lautaro at point-blank range with the goal at his mercy, but the sliding Argentine shanked what should have been a tap-in into the stands in the 27th minute.
That miss proved costly as Bayern got its breakthrough five minutes later through a towering Benjamin Pavard header. To add to Lautaro’s poor luck, he was the one beaten by the Frenchman in the air.
Towering header for Benjamin Pavard! pic.twitter.com/M7LPgeNyW9— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) November 1, 2022
That proved to be the final major action of the first half which was ultimately deservedly in Bayern’s favor. The Bavarians managed 60% and 15 shots (5 on target) to just 3 efforts from Inter, although Lautaro’s miss loomed large as a potential turning point.
The second half continued in much of the same form, albeit interrupted by a number of substitutions from both managers. Bayern’s quality eventually showed through and it snagged its second of the night in the 72nd from Eric Choupo-Moting.
Choupo-Moting with the rocket!— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) November 1, 2022
He scores for the sixth game in a row for Bayern Munich! pic.twitter.com/YnV2fQAQ0T
Inter seemed to accept its fate after the Cameroonian’s strike, with the introduction of 17-year-old Primavera attacker product Valentin Carboni being the only event of interest over the final twenty minutes. By the time the dust settled in Munich, the hosts tallied 23 shots (8 on target) and 60% possession to Inter’s 7 (4 on target), leaving no doubt that it deserved its second 2-0 win over Inter in a row to cement a 100% record in the group stage,
Onana - 7: Could maybe have done a bit more on Bayern’s opener but was left out to dry on the second. Still managed six saves and kept the scoreline from getting out of hand.
Acerbi - 6.5: Not the veteran’s best performance in an Inter kit, struggling a bit defensively. He didn’t have the same problems on the ball, where he lead Inter in touches (68) and completed passes (49), including 7 accurate long balls.
de Vrij - 7: A busy evening from the Dutchman who was the anchor to Inter’s slightly make-shift backline. He notched 4 clearances and 4 blocked shots and won two duels.
Darmian - 6.5: Fared oppositely to Acerbi, putting in quite the defensive shift but struggling in possession. Won 8 duels and made 5 clearances and 2 interceptions, but only had a 78% passing accuracy. All in all though, not a bad outing at center back from the usual wingback.
Gosens - 6: Had a great opportunity to make a case for more minutes but couldn’t quite put it all together. Sent in a stellar cross to Lautaro in the first half that should have been an assist but didn’t add much else the rest of the game, totaling just 2 crosses and 13 giveaways.
Gagliardini - 6: Par for the course for Gagliardini, with 7 duels won and 5 tackles, but just 20 completed passes and a possession black hole.
Asllani - 7: The Albanian rose to the occasion after a spell on the bench, notching a 92% passing rate, 1 key pass, and 2 accurate long balls, and 4 duels won. There’s definitely a very talented player in there just waiting to blossom.
Barella - 6: Like Inter as a whole, Barella’s best moments came early on and had he put in one of those two early chances we might be talking about a very different result. Alas. By the time all was said and done his influence faded away as the game wore on and he ended the day with a 75% passing rate and the 10th most touches on Inter.
Bellanova - 5.5: Proved to be a bundle of energy up and down the right flank, tallying the second most touches on Inter, but didn’t have the end product to go with his pace. Lost possession a team-high 18 times and went 0 for 8 on crosses. Good for him to get the experience, but he needs a bit more polish.
Lautaro - 5: Should have scored off Gosens’ cross and then drifted to the periphery for the remainder of proceedings before an exit on the hour mark. The Argentine ended with just 21 touches and a 69% passing rate, but he never got much service either to be fair.
Correa - 5: Almost identical to his countryman, with 40 touches, a 72% passing rate, and 0 shots.
Inzaghi - 6.5: Hard to judge him when there was no importance to the result and so much rotation across both teams, though I’ll give him an extra .5 for giving important minutes to Bellanova, Asllani, and Carboni against a team like Bayern (even rotated).
Inter ends the Champions League campaign on 10 points as a second seed and will learn its knockout stage draw on Monday, November 7th - so far, its options are Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham, and Porto. For now, the focus will be on Sunday’s Derby d’Italia in Turin as the Nerazzurri look to bounce back from its first loss in 7 games and carry on a four-game Serie A winning streak.