Real Madrid meet Inter Milan on MD6 of the Champions League with top spot in Group D up for grabs. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter from the Bernabeu on Tuesday...
"The Nerazzurri have rarely showed us their best side in Champions League competition and have fallen short in three successive match-ups with Real Madrid over the past year"
Real Madrid claim Sociedad sucess
Real Madrid have opened up an eight-point lead at the top of La Liga table thanks to a 2-0 win away at title rivals Real Sociedad on Saturday night. Los Blancos saw skipper Karim Benzema withdrawn early on with a hamstring injury with head coach Carlo Ancelotti later admitting the French striker will miss the midweek Champions League match-up.
Madrid shaded a goalless first-half and the visitors slipped through the gears after the restart with a quickfire brace to secure top honours in San Sebastian. In-form Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior broke the deadlock as he latched onto Luka Jovic's lay off inside the box before the Serbian striker seized his chance to impress by notching Los Blancos' second.
Benzema joins Gareth Bale on the sidelines, although the pair are the only two major absentees for Ancelotti here. Considering Madrid have already secured qualification and face a highly-anticipated derby with Atletico this coming weekend, the Italian could be tempted to freshen his team up. Jovic and Marco Asensio are hoping to be handed starts.
Inter impress in the Eternal City
Inter Milan know only victory at the Bernabeu will do if top spot in the pool is to be secured on Tuesday and the Nerazzurri warmed up for the Spanish capital clash with an eye-catching 3-0 success at Roma on Saturday. Simone Inzaghi's troops had the result sewn up by half-time, as Hakan Calhanoglu, Edin Dzeko and Denzel Dumfries all scored before the interval.
The Milan outfit were rarely tested in the Stadio Olimpico, enjoying 68% of the ball, and goalkeeper Samir Handanovic called into action just once from the hosts. Speaking post-match, Inzaghi was impressed with his side's ruthless attitude, saying: "I don't know if it was our best performance, but to come here and win like this really boosts our self-esteem."
The Italians are now just one point off the summit in Serie A. However, Inter also have a few injury concerns to deal with before the Madrid match-up; Joaquin Correa came off early with muscle tightness, whilst Lautaro Martinez and Stefan de Vrij is are both still rated as major doubts. Danilo D'Ambrosio isn't considered 100% and Matteo Darmian is out.
Real Madrid have beaten Inter Milan in all three Champions League meetings in the group phase over the past 13 months. Los Blancos bagged a 3-2 success here last November, before earning 2-0 and 1-0 victories at the San Siro. The Spaniards now boast a slight W6-D1-L5 supremacy across historic head-to-head match-ups in this competition over Inter.
A six-game winning streak has allowed Real Madrid 2.186/5 to power clear of the chasing pack in La Liga. Los Blancos have been beaten only twice across all competitions this season (W16-D3-L2) whilst impressively dispatching all of their toughest opponents such as Inter Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Real Betis.
Inter 3.7011/4 are finding their grove again following the departure of Antonio Conte in the summer. The defending Italian champions have also lost just twice this term in Serie A and Champions League action (W14-D5-L2), scoring at least twice in 16 of their overall 21 tussles under Simone Inzaghi's tutorship. The visitors have kept four successive clean sheets.
- Real Madrid 4 1 Valencia CF
- Alcoyano 1 3 Real Madrid
- Getafe 1 0 Real Madrid
- Athletic Club 1 2 Real Madrid
- Real Madrid 0 0 Cádiz
- Real Madrid 2 0 Atlético de Madrid
- Atalanta 0 0 Inter Milan
- Inter Milan 2 1 Lazio
- Bologna 0 0 Inter Milan
- Inter Milan 1 0 Torino
- Salernitana 0 5 Inter Milan
- Inter Milan 4 0 Cagliari
Real Madrid are missing their most influential player and will have the weekend derby with Atletico Madrid in-mind. Expect the Spaniards to take a pragmatic approach to proceedings, with a view to picking up the point required to seal top spot in the pool. Los Blancos have improved immeasurably at the back of late and should be capable of containing Inter.
The Italians have impressed in recent weeks and provide plenty of final-third in Simone Inzaghi's attack-minded system. But the Nerazzurri have rarely showed us their best side in Champions League competition and have fallen short in three successive match-ups with Real Madrid over the past year. A repeat could well be on the cards in Madrid.
Therefore, I'm happy to take the 1.865/6 on the Bet Builder from Betfair Sportsbook on Real Madrid Double Chance and Under 3.5 Goals. We'll be paid out should the home side enjoy a 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 or 2-1 success, as well as the 0-0 and 1-1 draws.
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Mark's 2021/22 Profit/Loss
Staked: 57 pts
Returned: 59.83 pts
P/L: +2.83 pts