The final Champions League clash for a Serie A side this week comes in the form of Real Sociedad vs Inter on Wednesday night at Reale Arena. The Spanish outfit are playing in the Champions League for the first time since the 2013/14 season, whilst the Nerazzurri reached the final of the competition last term.
The hosts have made a steady start to their domestic campaign this term but have won just one of their first five games. They head into this one on the back of a 2-1 defeat away to Real Madrid last time out. The last time Real Sociedad managed to qualify from the Champions League group stage and into the knockouts was during the 2003/04 season.
Inter are heading into their sixth successive appearance in the Champions League and will be dreaming of being able to emulate last season’s success as they reached the final for the first time since they won the competition in 2010. Simone Inzaghi’s side have been excellent to start their Serie A campaign too so will be expected to put on a strong showing in Group D.
Real Sociedad Preview
Three straight draws opened the season for Sociedad as they shared the points against Girona, Celta Vigo and Las Palmas. A 5-3 victory at home to Granada meant the White and Blues went the first four games unbeaten. However, a 2-1 loss away to Real Madrid last time out leaves Imanol Alguacil’s men with just six points from a possible 15.
Despite suffering a defeat against Los Blancos at the weekend, Real Sociedad were incredibly competitive and were arguably unfortunate to come away from the Bernabeu with nothing. The visitors managed an xG of 1.64, compared to Madrid’s 1.85. Their positive performance indicates they have the ability to compete with the best and won’t make it easy for Inter.
One To Watch: Takefusa Kubo
The Japan international has opened the campaign with four goal contributions in five La Liga appearances. He will provide the creativity for Sociedad and could cause plenty of issues for the Inter defense. Ander Barrenetxea has scored three in his last four so will also be a threat in the forward line.
It has been a perfect start for Inter to Serie A this season and they have won all four of their opening matches, conceding just one goal in the process. They took Milan apart on Saturday as they recorded a dominant 5-1 triumph in the derby match. The Nerazzurri will be full of confidence.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been aging like a fine wine since moving to Inter and his two goals at the weekend mean he now has three goal contributions in five appearances this term. Summer signing Marcus Thuram has been a revelation up top next to Lautaro Martinez and the 26-year-old also got on the scoresheet against the Rossoneri, meaning it is now back-to-back Serie A games with a goal for him.
Inzaghi led Inter to victories over Monza, Cagliari and Fiorentina well to start the campaign. His side kept three straight clean sheets to begin the season, scoring eight in the process. Inter appear to be defensively sound, without the opportunity cost of a lack of goal threat. It’s a fine balance.
One To Watch: Marcus Thuram
The Frenchman has been excellent since his summer move from Borussia Mönchengladbach and has managed two goals and two assists after just four Serie A games. He will continue to partner Martinez up top as the duo form a deadly partnership for the Nerazzurri.
The last time Real Sociedad and Inter met was all the way back in 1979. They met in the first round of the UEFA Cup. Inter secured a 3-0 win in the first leg at San Siro, whilst Sociedad put in a strong display in the second by winning 2-0. The Italian side would progress into the second round with a 3-2 aggregate triumph.
Real Sociedad vs Inter Potential Lineups & Team News
Real Sociedad (4-2-3-1): Alex Remiro; Hamari Traore, Igor Zubeldia, Robin Le Normand, Kieran Tierney; Brais Mendez, Martin Zubimendi, Mikel Merino; Kubo, Mikel Oyarzabal, Ander Barrenetxea
Portuguese forward Andre Silva is absent from the squad due to injury, whilst Carlos Fernandez is missing due to suspension. Aritz Elustondo is out as well due to an injury issue. Martin Merquelanz is continuing to recover from a long-term knee injury.
Inter (3-5-2): Yann Sommer; Matteo Darmian, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni; Denzel Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Kristjan Asllani, Henrikh Mkhitaryan; Federico Dimarco; Lautaro Martinez, Marcus Thuram
Midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu will miss the match here for Inter due to an adductor injury. Kristjan Asllani is expected to come in to replace him and Inzaghi has stated that he is ready to play. Juan Cuadrado is also unavailable and so Denzel Dumfries will keep his spot at right wing-back. Lucien Agoume and Stefano Sensi will also not be able to feature.
Real Sociedad vs Inter Prediction
Real Sociedad will certainly be no pushovers here and will be difficult to beat. Nevertheless, Inter should carry on their momentum in this one and will be buzzing with their derby triumph at the weekend. They should get the victory here in their Champions League opener.
Real Sociedad 1-2 Inter