Having both drawn their opening games in the UEFA Champions League 2019-20 group stage, Barcelona and Inter Milan will look to kickstart their respective campaigns when they clash in a Group F fixture at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.
The respective domestic form of the two sides is contrasting with Antonio Conte's Inter boasting a 100% winning record in Serie A, with 18 points from their first six games. With a mouthwatering weekend clash against Juventus to come, Conte will know that if the Nerazzurri can carry momentum from a Camp Nou win into the weekend, his side will remain in good shape.
Barcelona are again likely to miss Lionel Messi, who has an adductor issue. Even if he does feature, it is unlikely that Ernesto Valverde will use his talisman from the start of the game. The Blaugrana finally won away from home in La Liga, in a 2-0 win over Getafe on Saturday, and back in home comforts, are looking for the first Champions League win of the season.
Marco Reus missed a penalty in Barca's previous game, enabling them to get out of jail in a 0-0 draw against Borussia Dortmund, and with the scrutiny firmly on Valverde, he will look to his big guns in Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann to bail him out once again.
Date: 2nd October 2019
Time: 21:00 hrs (Local Time); 12:30 am IST on the 3rd of October, 2019
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Head to Head Record
The two teams have met each other 12 times in competitive matches before, with Barcelona having won on six occasions compared to Inter's two.
This is the second straight year in which these two have taken each other on in the group stage. In last season's group stage, Barcelona took four points from the two games between the two sides.
Can Romelu Lukaku put in a defining performance?
Throughout his time with Manchester United, one stinging criticism of Romelu Lukaku was his inability to show up and perform in the big games, as was evidenced by an underwhelming scoring record against the rest of the Premier League's 'Big Six'.
But the Belgian has had a reasonably happy start to life at Inter with three Serie A goals in six games and looking happy to play under Conte.
With Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet once again likely to man the heart of Barca's rearguard, Lukaku's opportunity lies in his ability to be strong and hold up play. As he likes to do, Conte will only be too happy to let Barca have the ball, and let his side spring on the counter-attack.
With the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Stefano Sensi around him, if Lukaku can hold up the ball and allow Sensi and Alexis into the game with his passing, the Barca centre-halves could have a reasonably difficult outing waiting for them.
Barcelona win: 5/8
Inter Milan win: 5/1
Bookmaker: SportsbetPublished 01 Oct 2019, 21:20 IST