In focus: Bayern's first CL opponents, Inter Milan
Kicking off this year's Champions League season, FC Bayern take on Inter Milan on Wednesday (21:00 CEST). *fcbayern.com*has turned the spotlight on the first opponents.
Defeat in the recent derby
At the weekend, Inter suffered a significant setback in the domestic Serie A. In the prestigious derby agaist AC Milan, they lost 3-2. With only nine points from five games, the *Nerazzurri*are currently eighth in the league table. Last season, Inter finished second in the Italian league. In a thrilling title battle, AC Milan prevailed with a two-point advantage. In the Coppa Italia, however, Inter were finally celebrating, beating Juventus in extra time in the final.
Renowned attack- the Inter Milan squad
Inter's squad is packed with experienced international stars. The attack in particular is well-staffed by renowned players. In addition to top scorer Lautaro Martínez, who netted 25 goals in 49 matches last season, and Edin Džeko, Romelu Lukaku returned from Chelsea in the summer, further bolstering the attacking line-up. However, the Belgian striker is expected to be left out of the squad against FC Bayern due to a hamstring injury. Inter's midfield is occupied by three well-known players boasting a Bundesliga history, with former Leverkusen man Hakan Çalhanoğlu and ex-BVB schemer Henrikh Mkhitaryan playing alongside Robin Gosens. Furthermore, Nicolò Barella (European champion with Italy), Marcelo Brozović (World Cup runner-up with Croatia) and Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands) are experienced internationals. The three-man backline is usually formed by 23-year-old Italian Alessandro Bastoni, Milan Škriniar from Slovakia and Stefan de Vrij from the Netherlands, all of whom play for their respective countries. To add to their arsenal between the sticks, Inter brought in André Onana from Ajax in the summer, but the current first-pick keeper and captain of the team is the experienced Samir Handanovič, who has been playing for the *Nerazzurri*since 2012.
The coach: Simone Inzaghi
Inter Milan have been coached by Simone Inzaghi since summer 2021. He succeeded Antonio Conte, who guideed the club to championship glory after an eleven-year dry spell, but subsequently asked for his contract to be terminated. Before joining Inter, Inzaghi was the head coach of S.S. Lazio for five years, the club with whom he spent much of his professional career as a player. With the Rome giants, Inzaghi also made acquaintance with FC Bayern in the 2020/21 Round of 16, in which the Bavarians won both the away (4-1) and home (2-1) legs.
The reinvigorated traditional club
Inter Milan are one of the most successful clubs in European football. Among others, their trophy cabinet is filled with 19 Serie A titles, eight Coppa Italia titles, and three Champions League triumphs. In 2009/10, the *Nerazzurri*also achieved the historic treble of domestic league, domestic cup and Champions League, achieved only by seven clubs to date. After winning five league titles in a row between 2006 and 2010, Inter lost touch with the upper echelons of the league and failed to qualify for the Champions League for six consecutive years. Since the 2019/20 season, however, the Milanese are once again among the biggest contenders from Italy - in the last three seasons Inter have been runners-up twice and then finally won Serie A in the 2020/21 season, as well as winning the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana last year.
The stadium - Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro)
Inter Milan play their home matches at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, also known as the San Siro. Roughly 78,000 fans fit into the legendary temple of football. The stadium was opened on 19 September 1926 and has been modernised several times over the years. FC Bayern fans have particularly fond memories of one of their appearances at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium. On 23 May 2001, Oliver Kahn, Hasan Salihamidžić and their teammates led FC Bayern to a close 5-4 penalty shootout victory over FC Valencia in the Champions League final.
German tradition at Inter Milan
Numerous German players have also contributed to Inter Milan's glorious history. Among others, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (1984 to 1987), Lothar Matthäus (1988 to 1992), Andreas Brehme (1988 to 1992), Jürgen Klinsmann (1989 to 1992), Matthias Sammer (1992), Hansi Müller (1982 to 1984) and Lukas Podolski (2015) played for the Nerazzurri.
An even record against FC Bayern
So far, FC Bayern and Inter Milan have met in seven competitive matches - honours are even with three FCB and three Inter wins, as well as one draw. Most recently, however, Bayern fans associate rather negative experiences with the Italians, as Milan eliminated Louis van Gaal's Bayern in the 2011 CL Round of 16 with a last-minute away goal from Goran Pandev and won the Champions League final the year before 2-0. Diego Milito scored two goals against Bastian Schweinsteiger and his teammates on that day.
The facts about the game against Inter Milan: