The top spot in Group D of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League will be on the line when Real Madrid face Inter Milan at the Santiago Bernabeu this week.
Real Madrid will be hoping to finish as the winners of Group D when they lock horns with reigning Serie A champions Inter Milan in their final group game of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.
Real Madrid have been in tremendous form of late after a slight hiccup in early October. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are on a run of 11 games without losing, winning each of their previous eight in a row across all competitions, most recently beating Real Sociedad 2-0. Currently on top of Group D, Los Blancos have won four of their last five games in Europe and need just a point from the upcoming clash to top the group.
Meanwhile, Inter Milan is also on an eleven-game undefeated run across all competitions. Following their thrashing of AS Roma this past week, they have registered five victories in a row. Simone Inzaghi’s side are second in the group, two points off of Real Madrid. Qualification to the knockout stages has been achieved, and a victory on Tuesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu would ensure that they top the group.
The reverse fixture between the two sides at San Siro saw Real Madrid beat Inter Milan 1-0, courtesy of a late strike from Rodrygo Goes. Ahead of their latest meeting this midweek, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) December 6, 2021
Real Madrid have been dealt a bitter blow ahead of their crunch clash against Inter Milan as star striker Karim Benzema has been ruled out after he picked up an injury in the weekend win against Real Sociedad. Apart from the Frenchman, Los Blancos will be without fringe players Dani Ceballos and Gareth Bale.
Real Madrid will be lining up in their trademark 4-3-3 formation against Inter Milan, with Carlo Ancelotti unlikely to make any major changes to the side that took the field on Saturday. Thibaut Courtois will line up between the sticks as usual while David Alaba and Eder Militao shield him from the heart of the defence. Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy are nailed on starters as full-backs.
Casemiro is guaranteed to feature at the base of the Real Madrid midfield, where he will look to cut off the threat posed by Nicolo Barella. Veteran superstar Luka Modric, who has been in fine touch of late, should start alongside Toni Kroos in the remaining two slots in the middle of the park for Los Blancos.
Rodrygo Goes did not have the best of games last time out against Real Sociedad but should be retained ahead of Marco Asensio on the right flank. There is no looking past Vinicius Junior on the opposite wing, and he will have extra responsibility on his shoulders in the absence of Benzema. Luka Jovic ought to start as the No. 9 after his impressive display at the weekend.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Jovic, Vinicius
Inter Milan have a plethora of injury problems to deal with heading into their trip to Spain. Simone Inzaghi will have to cope without Stefan de Vrij, Andrea Ranocchia, Matteo Darmian, Aleksandar Kolarov and Joaquin Correa, all of whom are sidelined with injuries. The Nerazzurri will line up in their usual 3-5-2 formation at the Bernabeu, with the focus on defensive solidity.
Captain Samir Handanovic will man the goal for the visitors while both Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni are both certain starters in defence. With de Vrij and Ranocchia unavailable, Danilo D’Ambrosio ought to line up as the third centre-back again.
Denzel Dumfries and Ivan Perisic should occupy the wing-back slots on the right and left sides, respectively. They will be a key attacking outlet for Inter Milan and provide the natural width. However, Dumfries will have his task cut out defensively against the dangerous Vinicius Junior.
Marcelo Brozovic will anchor the midfield for the Nerazzurri and look to mark out his compatriot Luka Modric. Nicolo Barella and Hakan Calhanoglu will occupy the remaining two slots in the middle of the park and provide the forward thrust and creativity for the team. With Correa ruled out, Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko become the obvious picks in the two-pronged strike force.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Dzeko, Martinez
- Real Madrid have won each of their last three games against Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League.
- Inter Milan have picked up just one victory from their previous 11 encounters against Spanish opponents in European competitions (D1 L9).
- Real Madrid have scored 999 goals in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League in 454 games.
- Inter Milan have qualified for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in ten seasons.
- Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric could make his 100th UEFA Champions League appearance on Tuesday night.
Player to Watch
📊| Vinícius Júnior amongst Brazilians in the TOP 5 European leagues this season:
— Madrid Xtra. (@MadridXtra) December 5, 2021
The 21-year-old has been in red-hot form and is enjoying his best-ever campaign as a Real Madrid star. Vinicius Junior has already scored 12 goals and set up seven more in just 21 games in all competitions and has been Los Blancos’ best player along with Karim Benzema. And with the latter set to miss out on Tuesday night due to an injury, the Brazilian international will need to step it up a notch and produce the goods for Real Madrid to lead them to the top of Group D.
Real Madrid 1-1 Inter Milan
Both Real Madrid and Inter Milan come into the midweek clash on an 11-match unbeaten streak across all competitions. While Los Blancos may have managed to beat the Serie A heavyweights in the reverse fixture, the game was closely contested. And it could be the same case again on Tuesday night, with the spoils set to be shared yet again, which should be enough for Carlo Ancelotti & co. to finish as group winners.