PREVIEW | Inter v FC Barcelona

PREVIEW | Inter v FC Barcelona

The blaugranes travel to Milan to play against Inter having already qualified to the knockout stages of the Champions League

The Champions League returns and Barça travel to Italy to face Inter Milan in the final group game of this season's competition (Tuesday, December 20, 9.00pm CET, GLOBAL TV AND KICKOFF GUIDE HERE). Barça already have 11 points, while the Italians are tied on seven with Borussia Dortmund. Irrespective of the result against Inter, Ernesto Valverde's side will be in the draw for the Round of 16 for the 13th consecutive season.

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Big game for Inter

Inter’s bid to win Serie A for the first time since 2010 has got off to a fine start. The 0-0 draw with Roma at the weekend was only the third in which the Italian leaders have dropped points so far. Curiously all those games were at home, on the road they are 100%. They are currently two points clear of perennial champions Juventus.

The reverse has been the case in Europe, where their 3-1 win at Slavia Prague in game five was the only one that gained them points away from home. Coupled with Barça’s 3-1 defeat of Dortmund, it means they and the Germans are now locked on seven points each, with Dortmund hosting Slavia on the final day.

As Inter have the better head-to-head record, they have the slight advantage, and need to get the same result or better than Dortmund to join Barça in the last sixteen. So although this game is akin to a friendly for Barça, for the hosts it is HUGE.

Ones to watch

With Antonio Conte on the bench, Inter are looking very tasty indeed this season, and that has much to do with two strikers in sensational form. Romelu Lukaku, who joined from Manchester United in the summer and the Belgian has scored ten league goals and one in Europe.

And Argentinian Lautaro Martínez, in his second term at the club, has netted eight times in Serie A and five times in the UCL. He’s actually the first player since Samuel Eto’o (also a Barça legend of course) to score in four consecutive European fixtures for Inter, and could set a new record with a goal on Tuesday.


The precedents

It will be the tenth confrontation between the Catalan and Italian teams. The precedents are positive for Barça: five wins, three draws and one defeat. The last occasion in which the two teams met was the second round of this season's group stage. A double from Luis Suárez cancelled out Lautaro Martínez's early goal.

1958-60 Fairs Cup Quarter Final
Barça 4 Inter 0
Inter 2 Barça 4
Barça won 8-2 on aggregate and went on to win the trophy

1969-70 Fairs Cup Third Round
Barça 1 Inter 2
Inter 1 Barça 1
Inter won 3-2 on aggregate

2002-03 Champions League Second Group Stage
Barça 3 Inter 0
Inter 0 Barça 0
Both sides progressed to the next stage

2009-10 Champions League Group Stage
Inter 0 Barça 0
Barça 2 Inter 0
Both sides progressed to the next stage and met again in the semi-finals...

2009-10 Champions League Semi Finals
Inter 3 Barça 1
Barça 1 Inter 0
Inter won 3-2 on aggregate and went on to win the trophy

2018/19 Champions League Group Stage
Barça 2 Inter 0
Inter 1 Barça 1
Barça won the group but Inter finished third behind Tottenham

2019/20 Champions League Group Stage
Barça 2 Inter 1

Facts and stats

  • Antonio Conte has never defeated Barça in any of the three games his sides have faced against them: two defeats and a draw. 
  • Four of the previous six matches between Inter and Barça at San Siro have ended in a draw.
  • Inter have never lost a home game against a Spanish team in the Champions League/European Cup
  • Barça are looking for back-to-back away wins in the Champions League for the first time since 2015.
  • Barça failed to score against Slavia Prague and Borussia Dortmund, but they've never failed to score in three group games in one season.
  • Lautaro Martínez has scored in his last four Champions League games for Inter. None of their players have ever scored in five consecutive group games in the same campaign.
  • Barça have only lost one of their last 33 Champions League group games (1-3 v Man City in November 2016).
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Team news

Out through injury for Barcelona are Nelson Semedo, Arthur, Ousmane Dembélé and Jordi Alba, and with nothing major at stake in this game, Leo Messi is being rested along with Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto.

The full squad is as follows: Ter Stegen, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Todibo, Suárez, Neto, Lenglet, M. Wague, Griezmann, Aleñá, F. De Jong, Vidal, Umtiti, Junior, Iñaki Peña, C. Pérez, Riqui Puig, Ansu Fati, R. Araujo and Morer.

Former Barça striker Alexis Sánchez is out with an ankle injury, and key Inter midfielders Stefano Sensi and Nicolo Barella are also missing, while there also questions marks regarding Antonio Candreva, who has a back issue.

Stand against racism

Inter Milan have always been one of the benchmark clubs in the fight against racism not only in football, but in sport and society in general. For this game, both their own captain and that of FC Barcelona will be bearing the words "Buu Brothers Universally United - #NoToDiscrimination" on their armbands.

The Inside View of Inter-Barça

Força Barça
Força Barça

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