Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Match Preview: Real Madrid v Inter Milan

 


Two of the most famous clubs in European football meet for the first time in more than 20 years on Matchday 3 of the Uefa Champions League as Real Madrid welcome Internazionale.

Both sides have made slow starts to Group B, Madrid opening with a surprise 3-2 defeat at home to Shakhtar Donetsk before a 2-2 draw away to Borussia Mönchengladbach, when only late goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro prevented them suffering a fourth European defeat in a row for the first time. The 13-time winners have nevertheless collected only one point from their first two group games for the second successive season.

Inter needed a late equaliser of their own against Mönchengladbach on Matchday 1, Romelu Lukaku snatching a 2-2 draw with his second goal of the game, before being held 0-0 at Shakhtar.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

The sides have shared 15 previous fixtures but none since autumn 1998, when they met in their only previous Uefa Champions League contests. Madrid won 2-0 in Spain thanks to goals in the final ten minutes from Fernando Hierro, a penalty, and Clarence Seedorf, before a 3-1 Inter win in Milan sealed by two late Roberto Baggio goals (86, 90). Both clubs were defeated quarterfinalists that season.

Four of the teams' previous ties had come in semifinals, Madrid winning all four on aggregate – including a memorable comeback in the most recent, in the 1985/86 Uefa Cup, when they went down 3-1 away but won 5-1 after extra time at home.

The Spanish side also came out on top in the two previous European Champion Clubs' Cup semifinals between the clubs, and have won five of their six two-legged knockout ties against Inter. At home Madrid's record is W6 L1.

The Nerazzurri, however, can point to a 3-1 success against Madrid in the 1964 European Cup final, Sandro Mazzola scoring twice in Vienna to give Inter the trophy for the first time.

FORM GUIDE

Real Madrid

Spanish champions for a record-extending 34th time in 2019/20, this is Madrid's 25th Uefa Champions League campaign – a joint record along with Barcelona. They have qualified for the knockout rounds in all of their 25 seasons, also a competition best.

This is the 13-time champions' 51st European Cup campaign, more than any other side.

Madrid have finished second in their group three times in the last four seasons.

In 2019/20, Zinédine Zidane's side were runners-up in their section behind eventual finalists Paris Saint-Germain. They were beaten 3-0 in the French capital on Matchday 1 and let slip a two-goal lead late on to draw 2-2 at home in the reverse fixture; they were also held at home by Club Brugge by the same scoreline. Madrid did win 3-1 in Belgium, and beat Galatasaray away (1-0) and at home (6-0) to finish on 11 points, five fewer than Paris.

Madrid's campaign came to an end in the round of 16, however, as they lost 2-1 home and away to Manchester City.

Having reached the semifinals or better for eight successive seasons between 2010/11 and 2017/18, Madrid have therefore lost in the last 16 in each of the last two campaigns, bowing out against Ajax in 2018/19.

The Spanish side have won only one of their last six Uefa Champions League matches (D2 L3); the Matchday 1 loss to Shakhtar made it one victory in seven home games (D2 L4).

Despite the comeback at Mönchengladbach, Madrid have still lost six of their last 13 Uefa Champions League matches (W4 D3).

Benzema's goal on Matchday 2 means he has matched Lionel Messi's record of scoring in 16 successive Uefa Champions League campaigns.

Madrid have won eight of their last nine games against Italian clubs, the exception a 3-1 home defeat by Juventus – who they beat 4-1 in the 2017 Uefa Champions League final in Cardiff – in the 2017/18 quarterfinal second leg. Madrid nevertheless squeezed through having won 3-0 in Turin.

That home defeat by Juve is Madrid's only reverse in their last seven home games against Italian visitors (W5 D1).

Inter

Second in Serie A in 2019/20, a point behind champions Juventus, Inter are the last Italian team to win the Uefa Champions League, in 2010 – their third European Cup triumph, and first in 45 years. That 2010 final, in which they defeated Bayern München 2-0, was played in Real Madrid's regular home, the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

This is the 14th time Inter have been in the group stage and the third season in a row having missed out for six consecutive years between 2011/12 and 2018/19.

Antonio Conte's side finished third in their section last season, behind Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund after losing 2-1 at home to the Spanish side on Matchday 6. They picked up seven points from their six games.

The Nerazzurri moved into the Uefa Europa League, beating Ludogorets 4-1 on aggregate in the round of 32 before wins in one-off ties on German soil against Getafe (2-0), Bayer Leverkusen (2-1) and Shakhtar Donetsk (5-0) took them into the final. Inter came up short at the last, however, going down 3-2 against Sevilla in the Cologne decider.

Inter have won only two of their last 12 Uefa Champions League matches (D5 L5).

Lukaku had scored in nine successive European matches before drawing a blank on Matchday 2.

The Milan club's last two Uefa Champions League campaigns have ended in the group stage, Inter finishing third in their section both last season and in 2018/19 – the first time in nine campaigns they had failed to progress.

The defeat by Sevilla in last season's Uefa Europa League final made it 19 defeats in Inter's 44 games against Spanish sides and six in their last eight contests (W1 D1). They lost 2-1 away and at home to Barcelona in last season's Uefa Champions League group stage.

Victory against Getafe in last season's Uefa Europa League round of 16 was only Inter's 14th win against Spanish opposition.

Links and trivia

Zidane was a Juventus teammate of Conte between 1996 and 2001, the pair winning the Serie A title in 1997 and 1998.

Achraf Hakimi joned Madrid in 2006, stepping up to the reserve side in 2016. His first-team debut came in October 2017 and he went on to score twice in his nine Liga appearances that season, also featuring twice in Madrid's victorious Uefa Champions League campaign. He joined Dortmund on a two-year loan in 2018 before making a permanent switch to Inter in July 2020.

• Have also played in Spain:

Arturo Vidal (Barcelona 2018–20)

Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona 2011–14)

Vidal's record against Madrid with Barcelona was W3 D2 L1; he scored in Barça's 5-1 Liga victory at the Camp Nou in October 2018.

Sánchez scored three goals in his 13 matches for Barcelona against Madrid; his record was W5 D4 L4.

• International teammates:

Luka Jovic & Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia)

Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard & Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)

Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic & Ivan Perišic (Croatia)

• Have played together:

Eden Hazard & Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea 2013)

Toni Kroos & Arturo Vidal (Bayer Leverkusen 2009/10)

LATEST NEWS

Real Madrid

Madrid were unbeaten in their first four Liga games this season, recording three victories and a draw, before a 1-0 home loss against Cádiz on 17 October.

That was Madrid's first Liga defeat at home since a 2-0 loss to Betis on 19 May 2019; Cádiz thus ended Madrid's 20- match unbeaten home league run (W16 D4).

Zinédine Zidane's side were then 3-1 winners at Barcelona on 24 October before Saturday's 4-1 home victory against Huesca.

Federico Valverde, who has scored in Madrid's last two Liga matches, has three league goals this season – already his highest total for the club.

Toni Kroos won his 100th cap for Germany in a 3-3 Uefa Nations League draw against Switzerland in Cologne on 13 October.

Eden Hazard came on as a substitute on Matchday 2, his first appearance since Madrid's defeat at Manchester City on 7 August due to an ankle injury. He played 60 minutes against Huesca at the weekend, his first Liga game since 16 July, and scored his first league goal for Madrid since his only previous strike in the Liga, on 5 October 2019.

Nacho was substituted just before halftime in Barcelona due to a thigh injury, and has not played since.

Martin Ødegaard, whose last appearance came in Norway's 1-0 Uefa Nations League win against Northern Ireland on 14 October, has a calf injury.

Dani Carvajal has not played since suffering a knee injury in training on 2 October.

Álvaro Odriozola picked up a calf injury in training before the international break and has not played since.

Mariano Díaz (tonsillitis) has also been on the sidelines, although he was an unused substitute on Saturday.

Inter

Marcelo Brozovic made his 50th appearance in Uefa club competition on Matchday 2.

Matteo Darmian made his Inter debut on Matchday 1.

Inter won their first two games of the Serie A season, beating Fiorentina 4-3 at home and Benevento 5-2 away, although they took only one point from the next two, including a 2-1 derby defeat by AC Milan on 17 October.

Antonio Conte's side have won only one of their last six games in all competitions (D4 L1), Romelu Lukaku and Danilo D'Ambrosio getting the goals in a 2-0 Serie A success at Genoa on 24 October. They were held 2-2 at home by Parma on Saturday, goals from Brozovic and, in added time, Ivan Perišic rescuing a point after the visitors had taken a two-goal lead.

Christian Eriksen celebrated his 100th cap for Denmark by scoring the only goal of the Uefa Nations League match against England at Wembley on 14 October. The midfielder had also scored in the 4-0 friendly win against Faroe Islands on 7 October and the 3-0 Uefa Nations League win against Iceland three days later.

Lukaku scored three goals in two Uefa Nations League games for Belgium in the recent international break: one in the 2-1 defeat away to England on 11 October and two in the 2-1 win in Iceland three days later.

Lukaku has ten goals in ten games for club and country in 2020/21 and had scored in five successive outings, seven goals in all, before drawing a blank at Shakhtar.

Alexis Sánchez and Arturo Vidal both scored in Chile's 2-2 draw against Colombia in 2020 Fifa World Cup qualifying on 13 October. Sánchez had also scored in the 2-1 defeat against Uruguay five days previously.

Lautaro Martínez scored in Argentina's 2-1 win against Bolivia, also in World Cup qualifying, on 13 October.

Lukaku suffered an injury to his left thigh at Shakhtar and missed the draw with Parma.

Milan Škriniar (illness) has not played since the 1-1 draw against Lazio on 4 October.

Stefano Sensi has missed Inter's last five games with a thigh injury while Sánchez was replaced at halftime against Mönchengladbach on Matchday 1 after picking up a problem with his right thigh and has not featured since.

On 2 October Lukaku was named the 2019/20 Uefa Europa League Player of the Season.

Lukaku was joined by Samir Handanovic, Stefan de Vrij, Nicolò Barella, Brozovic and Lautaro Martínez in the Uefa Europa League Squad of the Season.





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