Borussia Dortmund will be aiming for redemption as they once again lock horns against Inter Milan in the Signal Iduna Park this time.
It has been a fantastic start to the season for Borussia Dortmund. The Black and Yellows, who were facing a mini-crisis at the end of last month, now have a great chance of not only pulling ahead in the Bundesliga but also move one step closer to securing qualification to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
Indeed, they are facing Inter Milan once again, after initially slumping to a 2-0 defeat when these two teams last met on Matchday 3. This time, however, the Bundesliga outfit will have the home advantage, with the game being played at the iconic Signal Iduna Park.
Inter Milan, on the other hand, have had a difficult time since their 2-0 win over Dortmund last month. They were held by Parma in the following game and are now coming into the fixture on the back of two narrow wins over Brescia and Bologna respectively.
While they are still fighting tooth and nails with league leaders Juventus, with just a point separating the two, coach Antonio Conte will surely take this game seriously given a defeat could put them in a very difficult position.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this highly anticipated matchup in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Tactics & Key Stats
Dortmund received a massive blow on the weekend when Marco Reus picked up a fresh injury. There has been no concrete news over the severity of that knock, but he is sure to miss the midweek’s game against Inter. The club captain will likely be replaced by Mario Gotze.
The German World Cup winner will return to his old, preferred number ten slot, just in behind the main striker Paco Alcacer. Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard, meanwhile, are guaranteed starters on the flanks, with Jadon Sancho likely to receive a breather, with Favre having one eye on the important Der Klassiker on the weekend.
Similarly, Mats Hummels might settle for a place on the bench too, paving the way for Dan-Axel Zagadou to make a rare first-team appearance. The Frenchman will partner Manuel Akanji at the heart of Dortmund’s four-man backline.
Elsewhere, Lukasz Piszczek is a guaranteed starter at right-back, with Achraf Hakimi starting on the opposite flank. Roman Burki may return in goal as well, at the expense of Marwin Hitz, even though the latter has shown tremendous form.
And finally, Favre may continue with the pair of Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel in central midfield. Julian Weigl and Mahmoud Dahoud are additional options, with the former likely to be used against Bayern.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hitz; Piszczek, Akanji, Zagadou, Hakimi; Witsel, Delaney; Hazard, Gotze, Brandt; Alcacer.
Conte made a wealth of changes to the side that secured a 2-1 win over Bologna on the weekend. He is expected to revert those changes, aside from one or two exceptions, including the goalkeeper Samir Handanovic and the two defenders in Stefan de Vrij and Milan Skriniar.
These two will be partnered by the experienced figure of Diego Godin, who will be recalled at the expense of Alessandro Bastano in Inter’s three-man backline.
There might be changes in the wing-back department as well, with Antonio Candreva and Kwadwo Asamoah replacing the duo of Valentino Lazaro and Cristiano Biraghi. Candreva starred for Milan in the win over Dortmund and will once again play a key role this time out.
The midfield will remain completely unchanged, especially with Stefano Sensi out injured. That means Roberto Gagliardini, Marcelo Brozovic and Nicola Barella are guaranteed starter.
Conte is still missing out on the services of the injured Alexis Sanchez. Hence, there are not many changes he could make in the attacking department, with Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez once again leading the Inter Milan attack.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Godin, de Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva, Gagliardini, Brozovic, Barella, Asamoah; Lukaku, Martinez.
- Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan’s only previous Champions League meeting was on MD3, with the Italian side winning 2-0 at the San Siro.
- This will be Dortmund’s third home European match against Inter – they won neither of their previous two, drawing -2 in April 1964 in the European Cup and losing 3-1 in March 1994 in the UEFA Cup.
- In major UEFA European competition, Inter Milan are one of only four sides that Borussia Dortmund have faced more than once at home without winning, along with Juventus, Liverpool and Barcelona.
- Borussia Dortmund have failed to score in six of their last eight UEFA Champions League matches, having failed to score in just six of their previous 41 matches in the competition.
- Inter Milan have lost their last three away Champions League matches, their worst away losing run in the competition.
Player to Watch
With Reus injured, Alcacer is almost destined to receive a berth in the starting lineup this weekend, after making a substitute appearance in the win over Wolfsburg. His return would be a massive boost for Dortmund as they look to seal all three points against Inter.
Alcacer, unlike most of the Dortmund attackers, is known for his predatory instincts in front of goal, which has really helped him thrive at Ruhrpott, especially thanks to the world-class supply line, consisting of some of the most talented players in the Bundesliga.
However, it will be interesting to see how the Spaniard fares after returning from an injury-layoff, against an Inter side who boast a strong defence.
Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Inter Milan
Borussia Dortmund may once again struggle to thrive against Inter Milan even at home. The Italians are just way too versatile and rigid at the same time. Not to mention, they have a strong midfield and creative wing-backs, giving them the upper hand. But, we still expect both sides to share a point in this fixture.