Preview: Atletico Madrid vs Inter – Team News, Lineups & Prediction

Runaway Serie A leaders Inter take a trip to the Metropolitano Stadium to meet Atletico Madrid in the return leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday. Only one goal separates the sides ahead of this crunch encounter, with Nerazzurri taking a narrow 1-0 lead to Madrid after Marko Arnautovic’s first-leg winner.

Unlike Inter, European glory remains Atletico Madrid’s only chance to avoid a trophyless campaign. Already well off La Liga’s title pace and crashed out of other domestic competitions, Diego Simeone’s men must overturn the deficit to stay in contention for a piece of silverware.

However, the Spaniards’ recent form can’t inspire much confidence. They lost to La Liga minnows Cadiz 2-0 at the weekend, helping the Andalusian strugglers end a 23-game winless league streak. That was their fifth defeat in the last eight matches in all competitions (W2, D1). 

While Atletico’s pre-game form leaves Simeone with more questions than answers, Inter head into proceedings in high spirits. Simone Inzaghi’s side squeaked past Bologna 1-0 on Saturday to maintain an unassailable 16-point lead on Serie A runners-up Milan. 

A hard-earned win at Renato Dall’Ara strengthened the Italian giants’ outstanding record in 2024. Inter have won all 13 games since the turn of the year and will be out to protect that run at one of the most frightening venues in European football. 

Match Preview

Atletico Madrid

Despite Atletico’s underwhelming form in the build-up to this fixture, they’re a different team when gracing the Metropolitano field. They have only suffered one defeat in 20 competitive home outings this season (W18, D1) and are comfortably La Liga’s best home side (W13, D1).

Simeone’s troops have been equally impressive in European action, winning all three home contests in the Champions League group stages, including the last two via multiple-goal margins. Another similar triumph would secure their progression into the quarter-finals, but there’s a catch.

Facing Italian clubs has yielded mixed results for Atletico (W15, D3, L13). Historically looking, breaking the deadlock could be a game-defining moment, considering the team to open the scoring won the two previous encounters between Los Rojiblancos and Inter (W1, L1).


After resting Lautaro Martinez against Bologna, Inzaghi will field his best starting XI in pursuit of a second consecutive quarter-final appearance at Europe’s top table. Inter can draw confidence from their eye-catching track record in European knockout ties after winning the first leg at home.

They have progressed from 42 out of 46 such ties, reinforcing their hopes of navigating this blockbuster assignment. Their formidable away form is equally significant, with Inter winning their last six competitive matches on the road, including four without conceding. But there’s a downside.

Slow starts in away European fixtures forced Inter to seek salvation beyond the 70th minute twice in three Champions League group-stage games this season (W1, D2). Given what’s at stake, Inzaghi will expect a better early approach from his rip-roaring troops.

Team News

Jose Maria Gimenez’s absence due to a muscle problem is a source of concern for Atletico fans. As his most consistent defender is out of contention for the team, Simeone will turn to veteran star Axel Witsel to fill the vacancy. Thomas Lemar and Cesar Azpilicueta are also unavailable.

On a positive note for the Spaniards, talismanic forward Antoine Griezmann is fit again, though he’ll probably start on the bench. Memphis Depay will, in turn, take his place alongside Alvaro Morata at the heart of Atletico’s frontline.

As for Inter, long-term absentees Stefano Sensi and Juan Cuadrado have recently got company in the treatment room. First-leg hero Marko Arnautovic picked up a calf injury against Bologna and will have to watch the game from the stands. The same goes for versatile defender Carlos Augusto.

But those injury setbacks will not faze Inzaghi as he can pair his standout attacking duo up again. Martinez will regain his place in attack alongside Marcus Thuram, meaning Inter will come at Atletico at full bore.

Atletico Madrid vs Inter Potential Lineups

Atletico Madrid (3-5-2): Jan Oblak; Stefan Savic, Axel Witsel, Mario Hermoso; Nahuel Molina, Saul, Rodrigo De Paul, Koke, Samuel Lino; Memphis Depay, Alvaro Morata.

Inter (3-5-2): Yann Sommer; Benjamin Pavard, Stefan de Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni; Matteo Darmian, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Federico Dimarco; Marcus Thuram, Lautaro Martinez.

Atletico Madrid vs Inter Prediction

Though Atletico have been virtually unplayable at home this season, Inter are unlike many teams they’ve outplayed at the Metropolitano. Full of confidence, Inzaghi’s men are among a handful of sides capable of beating Los Rojiblancos on their home ground. 

We back them to do just that.

Prediction: Inter Win

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