The city of Istanbul will literally be on standstill as two of Europe’s biggest teams, Manchester City and Inter Milan battle for this year’s UEFA Champions League title at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium tonight.
It is expected to be yet another nail-biting final between two teams who have gone past the best teams from across Europe to reach this stage.
The English champions will be high on confidence heading into this final after smashing the most dominant force in Europe. They have already secured the FA Cup and the Premier League and could become the second English team to claim the treble if they manage to win the UCL. And, Guardiola will be determined to get it right this time after having lost a Champions League final with Manchester City against Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Inter Milan have been on a dream run in this season. They were decent in the Serie A as they managed to claim the third spot. But, as far as the UEFA Champions League is concerned, the Nerazzurri have been on fire throughout. Inter finished second in the group stage behind Bayer Munich after winning just three out of the six matches. They might not have topped the group stages but have hardly put a foot wrong post that.
Road To Final
No doubt, Pep Guardiola’s men have been a dominant force in the Champions League this season and have not lost a single fixture throughout. They were unbeaten in the group stages and ended up right at the top with four wins and two draws. In the Round of 16, City went past RB Leipzig without much trouble, they won the tie 8-1 over the two legs.
Manchester City then crushed German giants Bayern Munich 4-1 in the quarter-finals to square up against defending champions Real Madrid in the semis. Los Blancos secured a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the first leg but they were thrashed 4-0 in the return fixture.
Simone Inzaghi’s men squared up against FC Porto in the Round of 16; they put forward a solid defensive display to go past the Portuguese side 1-0 over two legs. In the quarters, Inter went past Benfica 5-3 over two legs and set up an all-Milan Champions League semi-final after ages.
San Siro played host to a high-voltage two-legged semi-finals that saw Inter come out on top with a 3-0 scoreline. They did the majority of the work in the first fixture itself and closed it out with a solid defensive performance in the second.
Their defensive display against AC Milan will give them confidence heading into this final. With both Manchester City and Inter Milan ready to give it their all, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at this fixture and tries to predict the tactics they will use.
Possible Line Up
Man City (3-4-2-1): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Akanji; Stones, Rodri; Silva, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Grealish; Haaland
Inter Milan (3-5-2): Onana; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Martinez, Dzeko
Saturday will be the first ever meeting between Manchester City and Inter Milan. It is the first time the first competitive clash between two sides has been in a UEFA Champions League final since Liverpool faced AC Milan in 2005, also played at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.
English and Italian sides have met in four previous European Cup/Champions League finals, with Liverpool always the English team in the final previously. They won the competition on penalties in 1984 vs AS Roma and 2005 vs AC Milan and lost the 1985 and 2007 finals against Juventus and AC Milan, respectively.