Inter Milan, the reigning Coppa Italia champions and Serie A leaders, commence their cup campaign by hosting in-form Bologna at San Siro on Wednesday.
A win for Inter would set up a potential quarter-final clash against Fiorentina, replicating last season’s final, while Bologna arrives on the back of three wins from their last four league outings.
Inter Milan, Serie A’s current table-toppers, have showcased dominance this season with 11 clean sheets and nearly 2.5 goals per game.
Their recent victory over Lazio marked their 13th win out of 16 Serie A matches, reflecting their strong form across competitions. They are set to defend their Coppa Italia title and progress in the tournament.
Bologna, under Thiago Motta’s guidance, aims to make a mark in the cup competition, having only reached the quarter-finals once since 2000.
Despite a formidable home record, their away form has been less impressive, with only one win in eight matches.
In Serie A, Bologna secured a significant win against Roma in their last fixture, bolstering their top-four aspirations. Their recent form suggests they may challenge Inter, especially considering their impressive home run.
Inter’s Simone Inzaghi is expected to rotate his squad, resting key players like Lautaro Martinez.
Injuries to Denzel Dumfries, Stefan de Vrij, Juan Cuadrado, and a doubtful Alexis Sanchez could prompt changes in the lineup, giving fringe players a chance.
Bologna, with fewer injury concerns, might make minor adjustments. The return of Riccardo Orsolini adds depth, and Joshua Zirkzee might make way for Sydney van Hooijdonk in the starting lineup.
Goalkeeper choice between Lukasz Skorupski and Federico Ravaglia remains uncertain.
Bisseck, Acerbi, Bastoni;
Darmian, Frattesi, Asllani, Barella, Augusto;
Posch, Lucumi, Calafiori, Lykogiannis;
Ndoye, Aebischer, Saelemaekers;
Prediction: Inter Milan 2-1 Bologna
Despite Bologna’s spirited form, Inter Milan’s history of eight consecutive Coppa Italia victories over Bologna suggests their superior quality.
Regardless of Inzaghi’s squad rotation, Inter’s depth should secure a hard-fought win at San Siro.