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The Blaugrana were unfortunate to lose to Bayern Munich last time out, and a repeat performance should yield victory at the San Siro.
Back Barcelona to beat Inter in the Champions League on Tuesday (-110)
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It was billed as a clash of the titans, a match between two teams with designs on not just reaching the knockout stage of the Champions League but actually lifting the trophy. Bayern Munich and Barcelona have won this tournament 11 times between them, but in recent years it is the German side that has had the edge. And that proved to be the case last month too, before club soccer paused to make way for the conclusion of the 2022/23 Nations League.
Bayern have now beaten Barcelona in each of their last five head-to-head clashes. The scorelines tell their own story: 3-2, 8-2, 3-0, 3-0 and now 2-0. The Bundesliga outfit have won nine of the 12 meetings between these sides in Champions League history, and the best online sportsbooks reckon Bayern have a better chance of going all the way in this year’s edition of the tournament. With six points from six, Julian Nagelsmann’s side have certainly taken control of Group C after two rounds of fixtures.
Yet Barcelona were a little unfortunate to go down 2-0 at the Allianz Arena. On the balance of play and the quality of the opportunities created at both ends, they were probably the better team. At the very least, a draw would have been a fairer reflection of how the 90 minutes played out.
However, Bayern were more decisive in the penalty area and that proved to be the difference between the teams. Nevertheless, Xavi Hernandez will have taken plenty of positives from the way his players performed against a team that is well established as one of the strongest in Europe. If Barcelona can replicate their performance in Munich at the San Siro, they should pick up all three points.
Inter will have something to say about that, of course. They were also beaten 2-0 by Bayern when they faced Nagelsmann’s men, although the result was fairer on that occasion. The Nerazzurri then delivered in what was a must-win match against Viktoria Plzen on matchday two, as goals from Edin Dzeko and Denzel Dumfries either side of half-time earned the Italian outfit a 2-0 victory in the Czech Republic.
Inter could count themselves unfortunate to be drawn alongside both Barcelona and Bayern, but their presence in Pot 3 for the group stage draw meant they were always liable to be handed a tricky task. That may seem a low ranking for a club that has been crowned European champions on three occasions, but Inter have not fared especially well in the Champions League in recent years, and narrowly missing out on the Serie A title last term denied them a place in Pot 1.
If Inter are to stand a chance of finishing in the top two and reaching the round of 16 for the second season on the bounce, they will need to make the most of their home form. Victories over Barcelona and Viktoria Plzen would mean Inter could afford to lose at least one of their trips to the Allianz Arena or the Camp Nou. As such, this is a big game for Simeone Inzaghi’s side as well as their more fancied visitors.
Barcelona trailed Real Madrid by a long way in the La Liga title race in 2021/22, and they began this season with the primary objective of closing the gap. A strong start to the season has raised ambitions at the Camp Nou, but some will interpret the aforementioned loss to Bayern as a sign that Xavi’s side are not quite ready to challenge for the Champions League.
Barcelona are indeed not among the outright favorites, but they do look like an excellent team. Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele form a front three that can strike fear into the hearts of any opponents. Gavi and Pedri, the two teenage starlets, are already top-class operators in midfield. Perhaps the only doubt surrounds the backline, notwithstanding the underrated excellence of Ronald Araujo.
Inter, for their part, do not have a particularly impressive record in big games under Inzaghi. They will have to be at their best to overcome Barcelona, who will stand a fine chance of winning this match if they can keep Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez quiet. This is a chance for Xavi’s side to demonstrate their Champions League credentials – back an away win in this one.
|Teams||Inter vs Barcelona|
|Location||San Siro, Milan, Italy|
|Time||Tuesday, 4 October 2022, 15.00 PM EST|
|How to watch||Paramount+|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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