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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for Forbes.com and Soccerly.com and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


TANGENTS

For Inter and Bayern Munich Things Have Changed Since That May Night At the Bernabeu

Written by on February 22, 2011 | 6 Comments »
Posted in General, Internazionale, UEFA Champions League

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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6 responses to “For Inter and Bayern Munich Things Have Changed Since That May Night At the Bernabeu”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    2 questions:

    1) USA’s U17 qualified for the WC, does that mean Freddy Adu will play?

    2) Boris, what do you make of no mention of either Modric or Kranjcar in the top 10 players of post WWII. What they hell do they have to do to get noticed?????????

  2. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Zanetti is what, about 37? Isn’t it a risk to play him at LB with the pace of Robben? I don’t follow Inter but wouldn’t it be less risky to move Cordoba (a short fast fella) out wide and have Zanetti slide inside? Just wondering.

  3. Zanetti was 36 when he dealt with Robben quite nicely in May last year. Chivu had got a bit of a runaround from Robben and had picked up a yellow card for his troubles. Chivu was taken off with about 25 minutes left; Zanetti moved to left back; Stankovic went into the game in midfield. Robben was not a factor after that.

    I would be surprised to see Zanetti allowing it to become a foot race if he was played at left back. Cordoba is still very quick – which is just as well because his positional sense is terrible at times.

    I honestly cannot remember the last time I saw Zanetti have a poor game.

  4. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    And has Cordoba played a lot as a CB? From my memory he’s a pretty short guy. Generally speaking, I’d rather have a short fast guy as an outside back. Short guys don’t win many head balls as a CB. Zanetti’s greater height and experience might be better served centrally in the defence than out wide where his lack of pace can be exposed. His greater experience at reading the game would also be better served, to me, as a CB. And 25′ against Robben is just 25′. Today it would be for the full 90′. I’m not being critical as I’m not a week to week follower of Inter. But generally speaking, it would make more sense to me to if Zanetti and Cordoba switched these proposed positions. Thanks.

  5. Eaglesoar says:

    Looks like Inter really miss Milito……especially when Sneijder seems to have lost a little of his mojo.

  6. Theo van Nasarshavregas says:

    Bobby,

    This might be a little harsh and I’m not slamming you but Zanetti was at LB today when Robben cut inside and unleashed a non chocolate shot that created the game winner at the death.

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