Inter vs Milan: Champions League Preview, Lineups & Prediction

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza forms the backdrop for the return leg of the blockbuster Champions League semi-final tie between Inter and Milan. Tuesday’s clash in Lombardy puts the Rossoneri in front of a Herculean task following an underwhelming 2-0 loss in the first leg last week.

A quick-fire double from Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan within the opening 11 minutes of play fired Inter to a clear-cut cushion in the first leg. As the nominal hosts in this fixture, Simone Inzaghi’s men won’t have to move a muscle up front to ensure their first appearance in the Champions League final since 2010. 

Defending a comfortable-looking lead will probably be at the forefront of their minds. But that may not necessarily be the case, considering the Nerazzurri’s free-scoring form. Inter refused to rest on their laurels after keeping Milan at bay in a third straight Derby della Madonnina for the first time in the 21st century.

Instead, they trounced Sassuolo 4-2 at home on Saturday night on the back of Romelu Lukaku’s brace, taking a massive stride toward securing another top-four finish in Serie A. Unlike their arch-rivals, the Rossoneri’s bid to secure Champions League football for the third season running suffered another setback.

Stefano Pioli’s team fell to a disheartening 2-0 defeat at relegation-battling Spezia on Saturday, falling four points behind fourth-placed Lazio. With only three games left, lifting the Champions League title for the first time since 2007 now looks like a more viable route into Europe’s most prestigious club competition next season.

However, it’ll take nothing short of a miracle to hijack Inter’s booked flight to the Istanbul final, as Pioli’s lads seem out of steam and hunger. Unless Milan can regroup quickly, they could wave goodbye to their Champions League aspirations this week.

Match Preview


Saturday’s battering of Sassuolo means Inter have won their last seven outings in all competitions, including six via multi-goal margins. After their forwards held up their end of the bargain in the first leg, it’s now the backline’s turn to preserve the lead. The likelihood of Inter’s success is massive, as they’ve recorded four clean sheets in five Champions League knockout legs in 2022/23.

On top of that, Inzaghi’s high-flyers have excelled in the Derby della Madonnina lately, racking up an eye-catching ten wins in the last 15 editions of this heavyweight fixture in all competitions (D2, L3). If that’s not enough to make Inter chill, their formidable record of securing 18 aggregate triumphs from 19 UEFA ties when winning the first leg as the designated away side should do the trick. 

Player to Watch: Edin Dzeko

It seems Dzeko holds some kind of grudge against Milan, considering his first-leg deadlock-breaker means he has found the net in three of his four competitive appearances against the Rossoneri this season. As such, he will require special attention on Tuesday.


Pioli’s men couldn’t have picked a worse moment to lose their composure. Back-to-back 2-0 defeats in the run-up to this encounter leave Milan at a single win in their last five competitive matches (D2, L2), causing unrest among the club supporters, who celebrated a long-awaited Scudetto as early as last season. Another underwhelming result could prove too much to digest.

However, the signs are ominous. You’d need to go back to 2006/07 for the Rossoneri’s last win in the Champions League knockout stages as the designated away side (D4, L6 since). It gets worse as Milan have netted a meager 15 goals in 24 away games in the Champions League knockout phase overall, averaging only 0.6 per match. Therefore, they look doomed before the kick-off.

Player to Watch: Rafael Leao

After missing out on the first leg, Leao is on the verge of returning to the fold, as confessed by Pioli in the build-up (via The Athletic). The 23-year-old needs no special introduction, as he’s been one of the most influential forwards in Serie A over the past couple of seasons.

Team News

In addition to Dalbert and Milan Skriniar, Inter may have to deal with the absence of injury-prone striker Joaquin Correa. But it’s not like the Argentine would’ve played alongside Lukaku, Dzeko, and Lautaro Martinez if he was fit in the first place. 

On the other hand, Milan midfield stalwart Ismael Bennacer has joined Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the sidelines, forcing Pioli to shuffle the deck. Junior Messias and Rade Krunic still have question marks over their heads, casting further doubt on the Rossoneri’s bid to become only the second team in Champions League history to come back from a two-margin first-leg loss as the designated hosts.

Inter vs Milan Potential Lineups

Inter (3-5-2): Andre Onana; Matteo Darmian, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni; Denzel Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Federico Dimarco; Lautaro Martinez, Edin Dzeko.

Milan (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Fikayo Tomori, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernandez; Sandro Tonali, Tomasso Pobega; Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao, Alexis Saelemaekers; Olivier Giroud. 

Inter vs Milan Prediction

Inter completely outclassed Milan in the first leg, but Leao’s imminent return could be a tie-changing factor. However, that will unlikely change the big picture, as the Nerazzurri should progress into the final by keeping their rivals’ misfiring frontline at bay.

Prediction: Draw / Inter to progress on aggregate

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