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Ryan Ross On March - 15 - 2011

Match Predictions: Bayern Munich vs Inter Milan

Champions League final16 second leg, Bayern vs Internazionale

Tuesday night sees German Champions, Bayern Munich, attempt to complete a second act of revenge upon their Italian rivals Inter Milan. The two giants face off in their second leg of the Champions League quarter final.

Both teams have experienced differing form in recent weeks, with Bayern struggling to catch Dortmund in the Bundesliga and Inter chasing down city rivals AC Milan for the Serie A crown. Last weekend saw a change in fortunes for Bayern as they demolished Hamburg 6-0 at home; Arjen Robben linking up dangerously for a hat-trick. Whilst Inter were held to a 1-1 draw away to a stubborn Brescia, and had to rely on Samuel Eto’o to bail them out again.

The managers also have contrasting situations. Louis van Gaal’s time at the club is coming to an end as it was announced he is to leave this summer. Interestingly this came before their 6-0 win; a sign the squad are happy he’s going? Life under the Dutchman has been a rollercoaster for the club. Highs saw them win a domestic double and reach the final of Europe’s top competition; lows saw him clash with squad members and isolate himself. Remember how Luca Toni was bombed out?

Leonardo however, has rejuvenated the Nerazzurri. Since he took over from Rafa Benitez in January it is incredible how he has changed the player’s attitude. A squad which was exhausted, moody and refusing to fulfil their potential, is now breaking records once more and hunting down AC Milan to retain their title.  Leonardo has accepted former manager, Jose Mourinho’s influence on this squad and says he respects the Portuguese coach and even asks him for advice; something which could be key to overcoming this challenge.

The tactics both teams will apply will make the game a fascinating occasion. As van Gaal’s “total football” clashes with Leonardo’s “outscore the opponent at all costs” approach.

Bayern are expected to line up with the familiar 4-2-3-1. The impressive Thomas Kraft will keep goal, hoping for another performance like the one in Milan. Captain, Philip Lahm, ever in command of the defence, with Van Buyten, Luis Gustavo and Pranjic adding experience to the backline. Tymoschuk and Schweinsteiger will provide a midfield base for the lethal frontline of Robben, Ribery, Muller and Gomez leading the attack. Bayern’s attack has scored an impressive 58 goals already this season and will remain confident of breaching Inter’s weaknesses in defence.

Internazionale will also use the 4-2-3-1 a setup which has served them well. Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar will be looking for redemption after his error led to Bayern being gifted a crucial away goal. Injuries mean that Maicon, Cordoba, Ranocchia and Chivu will start in defence. Zanetti, Cambiasso and Motta will play behind Sneijder. Samuel Eto’o and Goran Pandev will look to attack Bayern. Wesley Sneijder will be vital to the Italians as they look to get an away goal to balance the tie. But he has struggled for form and fitness this season and it might be a tall order to ask him to carry this side. However, he won’t be alone. Samuel Eto’o has demonstrated once again why he’s arguably Europe’s top marksman, netting a remarkable 30 goals already this season. If the Cameroonian gets a chance on Tuesday evening, you can bet he’ll take it with both hands.

So who is going to win? After each team contributed to an open fast paced game in Milan a few weeks ago, it is difficult not to see this as a close tie. Despite Bayern having the away goal from the first leg, they cannot defend and invite Inter to attack. Van Gaal will have his team pumped up and is sure to emphasise the necessity of a second goal to finish off the Italians. If Bayern score early, it could be game over.

However, Inter under Leonardo aren’t a team who will sit back and defend either. They know that they need to score early also and attacking is what they’re best at. Cordoba and Ranocchia cannot be relied upon not to crack under pressure. So Inter’s best form of defence is for all out attack and rely on Samuel Eto’o and Sneijder to unlock Bayern’s backline.

Despite having the away goal and home advantage, I think Bayern will struggle to contain this Inter team. Their attack will cause Inter problems, but I fancy Samuel Eto’o to step up once more and show why he’s the best in the world.

Score prediction: Bayern 1-2 Inter (2-2 aggregate – Inter win on away goals).

Ryan Ross

I became enthralled with Calcio back in the 90’s, when James Richardson presented Football Italia. My early mornings were spent following the trials and tribulations of Internazionale, during a period where they always flattered to deceive. It took a Frenchman to get me hooked though; Youri Djorkaeff, my favourite player of all time. This guy was key to Inter’s midfield, never mind his role in France’s World Cup win in 1998! I have a keen interest in Calcio’s rich history.

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  • Ridwan Muhammad

    yeah, i wish inter goes to quarter final !!

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