Milan vs Inter: Champions League Preview, Lineups & Prediction

Stadio San Siro is the venue as arch-rivals Milan and Inter go head-to-head in the first leg of their heavyweight Champions League semi-final tie on Wednesday. It’s been 18 years since the two San Siro colossi last faced off in the famous Derby della Madonnina on a European night. 

In the 2004/05 Champions League quarter-finals, the tie went Milan’s way after the second leg was called off due to Inter fans throwing flares onto the pitch. With everyone hoping for a peaceful and football-focused match this time, both teams will be eager to secure a crucial victory, especially with qualification for next season’s Champions League via Serie A up in the air.

After officially handing over the Scudetto to Napoli last week, Milan found some consolation in a 2-0 home triumph over fellow top-four rivals Lazio on Saturday. That success extended the team’s unbeaten run in all competitions to nine matches (W4, D5) and kept them within a two-point distance of fourth-placed Inter. But there’s a feeling fans won’t rest easy if this semi-final tie goes sideways. 

Lifting the coveted Champions League title for the first time since 2007 is the only way to avoid a trophyless season for Milan. But after losing their last two competitive meetings with Inter without scoring, Stefano Pioli’s men may have to overcome a psychological barrier to turn the corner in the head-to-head stakes. Considering the nominal visitors’ rich vein of form, that could prove easier said than done.

Federico Dimarco and Romelu Lukaku scored on either side of halftime to inspire Inter to a morale-boosting 2-0 win at Roma on Saturday late afternoon. That result took the Nerazzurri’s impressive winning run in all competitions to five matches, all of which saw them prevail via multi-goal margins, contributing to an intimidating aggregate score of 16-1. Therefore, Simone Inzaghi’s side will likely take the field at the ultimate high.

Match Preview


After a runner-up finish to Chelsea in Champions League Group E helped them qualify for the knockout stages for the first time since 2013/14, Milan have exceeded expectations. A brace of one-goal aggregate wins over Tottenham Hotspur and Napoli in the opening two knockout rounds has seen them reach the semi-finals for the first time since a triumphant 2006/07 campaign.

Milan’s defensive resilience has been off the charts in the Champions League, as they’ve kept a clean sheet in five of their last six European fixtures. However, scoring could be an issue for Pioli’s team in this match-up. Following back-to-back scoring blanks against Inter, Milan could fail to find the net in three consecutive meetings with the Nerazzurri since a three-game scoreless run between 1979 and 1980. 

Player to Watch: Olivier Giroud

Despite entering the autumn of his playing career, Giroud is still a force to be reckoned with, especially when the stakes are high. The 36-year-old Frenchman has been the most prolific Milan player in this season’s Champions League with five goals, four of which arrived between the 40th and 60th minute.


A second-place finish to Bayern Munich in Champions League Group C catapulted Inter into their first knockout-stage appearance since 2011/12. However, Inzaghi’s men have refused to let complacency get the better of them, as they overcame Primeira Liga powerhouses Benfica and Porto to book their semi-final tickets for the first time since lifting the title in 2010.

Like their arch-nemesis, Inter have based their outstanding Champions League run on a rock-solid defense, keeping a clean sheet in six of their ten European outings this term. Another shutout would see them go seven matches without conceding in a single Champions League campaign for the first time in the club’s history. 

Player to Watch: Lautaro Martinez

Though Lukaku has hit a purple patch, Martinez is our pick. Since making his Derby della Madonnina bow in March 2018, the Argentine forward has tallied a whopping seven goals in his 12 appearances against Milan in all competitions. 

Team News

Milan’s manager Pioli will have to make do without veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been excluded from the Champions League roster. But Rafael Leao’s possible absence after a thigh injury forced him off Saturday’s clash against Lazio is a much bigger issue. 

On the other hand, Inter will be without Robin Gosens, who sustained a shoulder injury during their match against Lazio two weeks ago, joining long-term absentees Dalbert and Milan Skriniar on the sidelines. 

Milan vs Inter Potential Lineups

Milan (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Fikayo Tomori, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernandez; Sandro Tonali, Rade Krunic; Brahim Diaz, Ismael Bennacer, Alexis Saelemaekers; Olivier Giroud. 

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

Milan vs Inter Prediction

Given the high stakes involved and the cautious strategies of both teams, the upcoming match is expected to be fiercely contested. Only one goal may determine the winner after 90 minutes of play.

Despite Inter’s high-flying form, we are of the opinion that Milan’s strong history in the Champions League could give them an edge in Wednesday’s encounter.

Prediction: Milan Win

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