Inter Milan is gearing up to cement their spot in the Champions League last 16 as they head to Austria to take on Red Bull Salzburg in Group D on Wednesday night.
In this crucial encounter, the Nerazzurri are looking to maintain their winning momentum from their previous victory over Salzburg.
Just a fortnight ago, Inter Milan secured a 2-1 win against Red Bull Salzburg at San Siro during matchday three.
Since that defeat, Salzburg has shown impressive form, winning their last three domestic matches.
This includes a penalty-shootout triumph against Hartberg in the Austrian Cup, sandwiched between two Austrian Bundesliga victories over Rheindorf Altach and WSG Tirol.
Teenage sensation Karim Konate has been a revelation, scoring his ninth and tenth goals of the season in a 2-0 away win against WSG Tirol, helping Salzburg claim the top spot in the table.
However, in the Champions League, Salzburg finds itself sitting third in Group D after accumulating three points from as many matches.
Their only win came against Benfica, and they face a challenging path to the knockout rounds, trailing Inter and Real Sociedad by four points.
While Salzburg has had a rocky run at home recently, they have a decent record against Italian teams in previous encounters. To keep their last-16 hopes alive, they need a positive result against Inter.
Inter Milan, on the other hand, is riding high, with an unbeaten run of seven matches in all competitions. Their latest triumph came against Atalanta BC with a 2-1 away victory in Serie A.
Hakan Calhanoglu and Lautaro Martinez were among the goal scorers, securing their place at the top of the Serie A table.
With their focus on progressing out of the Champions League group, Inter knows that a victory against Salzburg will guarantee a top-two finish in Group D.
The Nerazzurri are confident, having won their last three encounters with Salzburg and nine of their last ten matches against Austrian clubs.
Red Bull Salzburg will be missing several key players due to injuries, including Bryan Okoh, Justin Omoregie, Lukas Wallner, Fernando, Kamil Piatkowski, Aleksa Terzic, Dijon Kameri, and Maurits Kjaergaard.
Daouda Guindo is also ineligible for the Champions League. Captain Andreas Ulmer is set to start at left-back, and Oscar Gloukh will hope to retain his place behind striker Karim Konate. Mads Bidstrup could return to the midfield.
Inter Milan faces their own injury concerns with Benjamin Pavard, Marko Arnautovic, and Juan Cuadrado sidelined.
Matteo Darmian will deputize on the right side of the defense. Inter’s attacking options include Davide Frattesi and Alexis Sanchez, who are vying for a place in the starting lineup.
Red Bull Salzburg Possible Starting Lineup:
- Dedic, Solet, Pavlovic, Ulmer;
- Gourna-Douath, Bidsrup, Sucic;
- Simic, Konate
Inter Milan Possible Starting Lineup:
- Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni;
- Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Frattesi, Dimarco;
- Martinez, Thuram
Prediction: Red Bull Salzburg 1-2 Inter Milan
Red Bull Salzburg is eager to continue their domestic form in the Champions League but faces a formidable challenge in Inter Milan.
The Nerazzurri’s quality, particularly in the final third, with Lautaro Martinez leading the line, is expected to tip the balance in their favor.