Manchester City vs Inter: Champions League Preview, Form & Lineups

The pinnacle of the European club season is upon us as Manchester City and Inter face each other in the Champions League final on Saturday night. Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium forms the backdrop for the most highly anticipated fixture on the European football calendar, 18 years after hosting one of the most iconic showpiece events ever.

In 2005, the representatives of Italy and England locked horns in arguably the most memorable European final in the 21st century. Inter’s bitter rivals Milan let a sailing 3-0 halftime lead slip through their fingers as Man City’s fellow Premier League adversaries Liverpool came from behind to seal the title on penalties. 

Eighteen years on, Inter will be looking to avenge their neighbors’ fiasco on Saturday. But to do that, Simone Inzaghi’s’ lads must defy the odds that are firmly stacked against them. It’s been 13 years since the Nerazzurri last appeared in the Champions League. Therefore, motivation and ambition must be at an all-time high, even though they face arguably the most challenging task since ousting Barcelona in 2010.

As one of the most intimidating sides in European football, Man City hold the upper hand in this match-up, seeking a win that would go a long way in establishing them as one of the best teams in history. Pep Guardiola’s men are keen to join a select group of clubs to have won a coveted ‘Treble.’ 

All they need to do is live up to expectations in the Turkish capital. However, despite a considerable gulf in class, lifting the Champions League trophy is never a foregone conclusion. And based on Inter’s recent performances, Man City would be mistaken to underestimate the Italian powerhouse. 

What Do You Need to Know?

Manchester City

Despite lagging behind Arsenal for most of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign, Man City won one of the most exciting title races in recent years to retain domestic supremacy for the third season running. Guardiola’s men then made another significant step toward making history by overcoming cross-city rivals Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup final last weekend. 

One win away from becoming only the second Premier League side to complete the league, FA Cup, and Champions League treble since Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd side in 1998/99, they head to Istanbul in a buoyant mood. Seeking a piece of continental glory for the first time since conquering the 1969/70 European Cup Winners’ Cup, the Citizens brace themselves for their second Champions League final under Guardiola.

Their only previous foray into the title-deciding fixture yielded a 1-0 heartache at the hands of domestic opposition Chelsea in 2020/21, denying Man City their first-ever Champions League triumph. 

It was Guardiola’s third attempt at securing the most prestigious European club title after two victories with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011. The Spaniard could now become only the fifth manager to win the competition with two different clubs. 


Inter may have never stood a chance in the Serie A title race, with Napoli reigning supreme to end a 33-year Scudetto wait. However, Inzaghi’s men wrapped their hands around a domestic title this term by coming from behind to beat Fiorentina 2-1 in the Coppa Italia final last month

After finishing third in the league, the Nerazzurri have nothing to lose, considering they’ll compete in the Champions League again next season, no matter the outcome at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium. But regardless of the bragging rights, Inter won’t be making this trip to roll over and let Man City take home the prize.

Since Jose Mourinho led the Italians to their third Champions League title in 2013, they’ve become marginal continental figures, with their best result in the competition since being a quarter-final qualification in 2011/12. Inzaghi, the man accountable for giving Inter another shot at continental glory, has never been shy away from the challenge. 

In fact, he’s triumphed in all seven grand finals he’s featured in during his managerial stints at Lazio and Inter, suggesting Man City will have to roll up their sleeves to pick up their elusive first Champions League crown. 

How Have the Teams Fared Recently?

Manchester City

After being crowned Premier League champions for the third time in a row, Man City had let complacency get the better of them down the final stretch of their impressive league campaign. Back-to-back winless matches to cap off the league season led many to believe they’d lost their touch. 

But last weekend’s victory over Man Utd at Wembley Stadium may have set Guardiola’s team up nicely for the most significant game in the club’s history. 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): WLDWWWDWWW

Where they stand: Premier League champions, FA Cup winners.


Inter squeezed past Torino 1-0 on the final Serie A weekend, making it three wins on the bounce in all competitions following a 3-1 demolition at Napoli in mid-May. Indeed, Inzaghi’s men will take the field in high spirits after racking up an eye-catching 11 victories in their last 12 competitive outings. 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): WWWLWWWWWW

Where they stand: 3rd in Serie A, Coppa Italia winners.

Possible Starting Line-ups

Manchester City (3-2-4-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake; John Stones, Rodri; Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundoğan, Jack Grealish; Erling Haaland.

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

Players to Watch

Manchester City – Erling Haaland

Haaland has impressively netted 12 goals in the Champions League this season for Man City. This achievement places him on par with Ruud van Nistelrooy, who accomplished the same feat during the 2002/03 season with Man Utd, thus holding the joint record for the most goals scored by a player from an English club in a single campaign.

Inter – Romelu Lukaku

Despite enduring an injury-plagued season, compounded by massive form issues, Lukaku has timed his return to prominence to perfection. Even though he’s yet to make a Champions League start for Inter this season, the Belgian striker is the only Nerazzurri player to have either scored or assisted in every round they’ve contested. 

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