Nine months ago Inter and Bayern Munich faced each other at the Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid in the final of the Champions League. Both teams entered the match with the possibility of completing the treble – in the end it was Inter who made history.
Going into this match neither side are favourites to even win their domestic leagues. Both sides currently sit third with Inter trailing Serie A leaders Milan by five points while Bayern Munich are a massive 13 points behind Borussia Dortmund.
Other things have changed as well. Louis Van Gaal is still in charge of Bayern Munich although Bayern’s league position hangs as a dark cloud over the club.
Jose Mourinho, the Inter manager on that May Saturday evening in Madrid, finished up “moving in”, while his replacement Rafa Benitez only had time for a few cups of coffee…..and the FIFA Club World Cup. Now in charge – Leonardo.
But when the two sides line up on Wednesday in the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in Inter we can also expect some significant personnel changes – some through transfers, some through injuries.
So how does each side stack up against the 22 that started the final in Madrid?
Here is how Inter lined up last May.
Inter Milan (4-2-3-1)
Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu; Zanetti, Cambiasso; Eto’o, Sneijder, Pandev; Milito.
Let’s look at the changes we might see with Inter.
There should be no change in goal or at right back with the Brazilian pair of Julio Cesar and Maicon well entrenched and showing signs of returning to top form. Walter Samuel, who was a rock last season, is definetly out after suffering a season ending injury.
Lucio has not played since the end of February although Inter remain hopeful that he might yet make Wednesday’s match.
Andrea Ranocchia arrived in the January transfer window and has settled in quickly – he seems certain to start. If Lucio does not make it then Cordoba is the man most likely to take over.
Cristian Chivu has missed the last couple of Serie A matches due to a four game suspension for punching a Bari player in an off-the-ball incident.
New signing Nagatomo from Cesena played on Saturday against Cagliari at left back but Chivu may get the midweek nod.
There is also a strong chance that Javier Zanetti may fill in at left back as he did in May after Chivu was substituted. Especially when you consider Arjen Robben may be in direct opposition and Chivu never looked particularly comfortable against the Dutchman.
Thiago Motta missed the Champions League Final on account of a red card against Barcelona in the semi final but is available and looks like a good bet to start against Bayern.
Cambiasso is coming back from injury while Stankovic, a substitute in the final, has struggled with injuries and a suspension lately. Nonetheless both players should see some game time.
Diego Milito scored both goals in the final but is out with a thigh injury until March. Pazzini is cup-tied and so the logical would be to move Eto’o into a main striker role.
Inter may have to sacrifice the pace of Eto’o in midfield but in Kharja they may not have a similar skill set but a player who is unlikely to let the team down.
Possible line up – Inter (4-2-3-1)
Julio Cesar; Maicon, Ranocchia, Cordoba, Zanetti; Motta, Cambiasso; Kharja, Sneijder, Pandev; Eto’o
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