Inter’s return from the international break began in strong fashion with a 3-0 win at Torino, but the focus is already moving back to continental competition. Matchday 3 of the Champions League group stage is here, and with it comes Inter’s first-ever meeting with RB Salzburg on Tuesday evening at the San Siro.
The ten-time reigning champs of the Austrian Bundesliga currently sit 2nd with 7 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses from 11 games under first-year head coach Gerhard Struber. It’s stumbled a bit of late with one win in four, including a home defeat to third-place LASK this past weekend, but Salzburg is full of talent and more than capable of causing Inter problems. Its average starting eleven age is usually in the low 20s (21.9 vs Sociedad) but it has actual quality along with future upside. Salzburg has the third-best defense in Austria and the highest-scoring attack, led by 19 and 20-year-old strikers Karim Konate (5 goals, 2 assists) and Roko Simic (5g, 1a), respectively. Attacking midfielder Oscar Gloukh (3g, 1a) pulls the strings behind the forward duo in a 4-3-1-2 formation, but keep an eye out for right back and captain Amar Dedic (2g, 2a) to cause havoc down the flank.
As for the UCL, Salzburg is third on three points after a victory at Benfica and a defeat against Real Sociedad. Inter and the Spaniards sit tied for the top spot on 4 points, while Benfica lurks deceptively in 4th on 0 points but is capable of making up ground far faster than anyone would like. Inter must take care of business in its home games to avoid any extra drama and progress out of the group stage and Salzburg’s visit to Milano gives Inzaghi’s side the perfect chance to create a bit of a gap at the top.
Inter and Salzburg have never met in competitive play, although the Nerazzurri did win a preseason friendly 4-3 back in August of this year. The good guys have generally fared well against Austrian opposition in the past, with a combined 14W-1D-9L record against 8 sides.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Inter Milan 2-1 RB Salzburg
Salzburg’s high-flying, youthful attack will cause Inter a bit of worry, but ultimately the Nerazzurri’s experience will win out in a 2-1 win decided by goals from Lautaro Martinez and Davide Frattesi.