Inter will host Barcelona on Tuesday in the third round of Champions League group-stage fixtures of the season.
The two sides are tied for points in Group C, with Barcelona’s superior goal difference keeping them in the qualification spots, so this fixture is about as important as they come for both sides.
Inter come into this one having lost their last two games in all competitions, while Barcelona’s defeat to Bayern Munich last time out in Europe is the only blot on an otherwise perfect eight-game run for Xavi’s men.
Here’s all you need to know about this one.
Marcelo Brozovic remains sidelined with the thigh injury that he picked up on international duty, while a similar injury keeps striker Romelu Lukaku out of this one as well.
A decision will have to be made in goal, where Samir Handanovic’s performances have come under scrutiny recently. Summer signing Andre Onana has been playing in Europe this year and is likely to keep his place here.
Inter Starting 11 (3-5-2): Onana; Acerbi, Skriniar, Bastoni; Dumfries, Calhanoglu, Barella, Asllani, Dimarco; Martinez, Dzeko.
Bench: Cordaz, Handanovic, D’Ambrosia, De Vrij, Gosens, Bellanova, Darmian, Gagliardini, Stankovic, Carboni, Mkhitaryan, Correa.
Frenkie de Jong failed to recover from his muscle injury in time to travel with the squad. The Dutchman will stay home alongside Memphis Depay, Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo and Hector Bellerin.
Against Mallorca at the weekend, Xavi made a handful of changes with this tie in mind, so expect the likes of Pedri and Eric Garcia to return to the starting lineup.
Barcelona Starting 11 (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Balde, Christensen, Garcia, Alba; Busquets, Gavi, Pedri; Dembele, Lewandowski, Raphinha.
Bench: Pena, Tenas, Pique, Alonso, Roberto, Kessie, Torre, Casado, Torres, Fati.
Inter haven’t looked like themselves this season. They’re struggling in Serie A and on a run of four defeats in their last six, and now they’ve got to cope without both Brozovic and Lukaku.
On the other hand, Barcelona are flying this season and have looked dominant against every opponent not named Bayern Munich. The addition of Robert Lewandowski has been a major catalyst for the team’s resurgence.
Xavi’s side are the favourites, but Inter have enough about them to cause a problem or two. Expect a tight game and three points heading back to Spain.
Prediction: Inter 1-2 Barcelona