Bayern Munich and Inter Milan will round off their Champions League Group B campaigns with a clash at Allianz Arena on Tuesday evening, with the two sides set to finish first and second respectively.
The home side have won all five of their matches to sit top of the section on 15 points, while Inter have claimed 10 points to secure second, with Barcelona dropping into the Europa League from a tough group.
Bayern’s form in a difficult group has been incredibly impressive, with the German champions winning all five of their matches, scoring 16 times in the process and conceding just twice, which has allowed them to breeze into the knockout round of the Champions League as group winners.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side beat Inter and Barcelona 2-0 in their first two games in the section before back-to-back victories over Viktoria Plzen, scoring nine times in the process.
Bayern then put in a brilliant performance at Camp Nou last week, recording a 3-0 victory courtesy of goals from Sadio Mane, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Benjamin Pavard, and it was the type of result that would have made their potential challengers in this competition stand up and take notice.
Der FCB have been knocked out in the quarter-finals of this competition in the last two seasons, surprisingly being eliminated by Villarreal last term, but they did lift the trophy in 2020 by beating Paris Saint-Germain in the final.
Nagelsmann’s team will enter this match off the back of a 6-2 win over Mainz in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with the result leaving them top of the table, boasting 25 points from their opening 12 matches.
Inter, meanwhile, secured their spot in the last-16 stage of the Champions League courtesy of a 4-0 victory over Viktoria Plzen last week, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Edin Dzeko (twice) and Romelu Lukaku on the scoresheet.
The Italian giants lost 2-0 to Bayern in their section opener on September 7, but they have won three of their last four in the competition, while a 3-3 draw at Barcelona on October 12 proved to be a crucial result, as it left them just needing to beat Viktoria Plzen at home in order to secure second position.
Inter also reached the round of 16 last season, losing to Liverpool, but they have not made it past the first knockout round of the European Cup since 2010-11, which saw them eliminated by Schalke 04 in the last eight.
I Nerazzurri have won the Champions League on three separate occasions, with their last success coming back in 2010, and a victory over Bayern on Tuesday would certainly send out a statement.
Simone Inzaghi’s side will enter the match off the back of a 3-0 win over Sampdoria in the league on Saturday, with the result leaving them in fifth position in the table on 24 points, eight points behind the leaders Napoli.
Bayern will again be missing Bouna Sarr, Lucas Hernandez, Manuel Neuer, Leroy Sane and Thomas Muller for Tuesday’s Champions League contest with Inter through injury.
Matthijs de Ligt is also expected to miss out with the issue that he picked up against Mainz in the league on Saturday, which could see Benjamin Pavard feature in the middle of the defence.
Head coach Nagelsmann is expected to resist the temptation to make wholesale changes for this contest, but Marcel Sabitzer and Kingsley Coman could be brought into the side.
Choupo-Moting, meanwhile, is expected to lead the line once again, with the 33-year-old making it seven goals for the season with a late effort against Mainz on Saturday.
As for Inter, Dalbert, Marcelo Brozovic and Gabriel Brazao will be unavailable for selection through injury, but the visitors did not pick up any fresh concerns against Sampdoria at the weekend.
Lukaku again appeared off the bench on Saturday, and the Belgium international is unlikely to be considered for a start at this stage, so Dzeko is set to feature alongsideLautaro Martinez in attack.
Head coach Inzaghi could take the opportunity to hand starts to the likes of Kristjan Asllani and Francesco Acerbi, with Alessandro Bastoni and Hakan Calhanoglu potentially being rested.
Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Ulreich; Mazraoui, Upamecano, Pavard, Davies; Sabitzer, Goretzka; Coman, Musiala, Mane; Choupo-Moting
Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Onana; Skriniar, De Vrij, Acerbi; Dumfries, Barella, Asllani, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Dzeko, L Martinez