On match day three of the Champions League Group Stage, Borussia Dortmund are set to face Inter Milan at the San Siro in Milan, Italy, tomorrow at 3 pm EST.
Antonio Conte’s Internazionale, who currently sit second in Serie A and fourth in Group F, have been a buzzsaw domestically, their recent 2-1 loss to Juventus being the only blemish on what has been an otherwise immaculate season in Italy. Conte, in typical Italian fashion, has a reputation as a defensively-focused coach, and Inter’s record backs that up. The Nerazzurri have the best defense in Serie A, with 7.01 expected goals against across eight matches. On offense, former Manchester United burnout Romelu Lukaku has found new life with Inter Milan, with five goals through eight matches, and 22-year-old Lautaro Martinez has all the signs of an all-around elite player.
Despite their domestic success, Inter have gotten off to a slow start in the Champions League. After starting with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Slavia Prague, Inter lost to Barcelona to two Luis Suarez strikes after taking a lead two minutes into the match. Inter now sit at the bottom of Group F, and will need three points against Borussia Dortmund to have a good shot at the Round of 16.
Borussia Dortmund sit at the top of Group F, but are in a relatively precarious position. With Barcelona likely to defeat Slavia Praha, BVB will need to take a result from the San Siro to maintain their distance from the Italians. Unfortunately, BVB have several injuries to deal with for this key matchup. Marco Reus, whose goal propelled BVB to a 1-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday, is out with the flu. Paco Alcacer is still missing with an Achilles Tendon injury, and although Roman Bürki has travelled to Milan with the team, his status is still in question. Fortunately, Jadon Sancho will be available, after missing this weekend’s match due to a suspension that he received for arriving back late from his international duties.
The key to tomorrow’s match will be to try to find the back of the net by any means necessary. BVB have had trouble breaking down defensively-focused systems this season, and Inter Milan have been a defensive fortress thus far, especially at home. If Inter can get an early goal, it will be very difficult for BVB to claw their way back into the game.
Prediction: 2-0 Inter Milan
Unfortunately, this is precisely the scenario I can see taking place. Borussia Dortmund have looked shaky recently, and the absence of Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer further diminishes BVB’s offensive threat. Inter Milan have a few key injuries as well, namely Alexis Sanchez and Stefano Sensi, but still feature a plethora of attacking options. This match has all the conditions necessary to expose the flaws in Favre’s system.
Get ready, this could be ugly.