Internazionale are in danger of losing touch in Group B as they face a Real Madrid side whose Matchday 3 win against the Italian side has revived their own hopes.
• An 80th-minute Rodrygo goal gave Madrid a dramatic 3-2 victory in Spain last time out, goals from Lautaro Martínez (35) and Ivan Perišić (68) having brought Inter back on terms after Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos had given Madrid a two-goal lead.
• That took Madrid on to four points, a point behind Borussia Mönchengladbach and level with Shakhtar Donetsk, with Inter on two points and still seeking their first win in this season’s UEFA Champions League.
• Before Matchday 3 the sides had shared 15 fixtures but none since autumn 1998, when they met in their only other UEFA Champions League contests. Madrid won 2-0 in Spain thanks to goals in the final ten minutes from Fernando Hierro, a penalty, and Clarence Seedorf, before a 3-1 Inter win in Milan sealed by two late Roberto Baggio goals (86, 90). Both clubs were defeated quarter-finalists that season.
• Four of the teams’ previous ties had come in semi-finals, Madrid winning all four on aggregate – including a memorable comeback in the most recent, in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup, when they went down 3-1 away but won 5-1 after extra time at home.
• The Spanish side also came out on top in the two previous European Champion Clubs’ Cup semi-finals between the clubs, and have won five of their six two-legged knockout ties against Inter.
• The Nerazzurri, however, have never lost at home to Madrid (W5 D2) and can also point to a 3-1 victory in the 1964 European Cup final, Sandro Mazzola scoring twice in Vienna to give Inter the trophy for the first time.
• Antonio Conte’s side drew their first two fixtures, 2-2 at home to Mönchengladbach – Romelu Lukaku scoring twice, including a 90th-minute equaliser – and 0-0 at Shakhtar.
• Second in Serie A in 2019/20, a point behind champions Juventus, Inter are the last Italian team to win the UEFA Champions League, in 2010 – their third European Cup triumph, and first in 45 years. That 2010 final, in which they defeated Bayern München 2-0, was played in Real Madrid’s regular home, the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.
• This is the 14th time Inter have been in the group stage and the third season in a row having missed out for six consecutive years between 2011/12 and 2018/19.
• Conte’s charges finished third in their section last season, behind Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund after losing 2-1 at home to the Spanish side on Matchday 6. They picked up seven points from their six games.
• The Nerazzurri moved into the UEFA Europa League, beating Ludogorets 4-1 on aggregate in the round of 32 before wins in one-off ties on German soil against Getafe (2-0), Bayer Leverkusen (2-1) and Shakhtar (5-0) took them into the final. Inter came up short at the last, however, going down 3-2 against Sevilla in the Cologne decider.
• Inter have won only two of their last 13 UEFA Champions League matches (D5 L6).
• Lukaku had scored in nine successive European matches before drawing a blank on Matchday 2. He missed the defeat in Madrid.
• The Milan club’s last two UEFA Champions League campaigns have ended in the group stage, Inter finishing third in their section both last season and in 2018/19 – the first time in nine campaigns they had failed to progress.
• The loss in Madrid made it 20 defeats in Inter’s 45 games against Spanish sides and seven in their last nine contests (W1 D1). They lost 2-1 away and at home to Barcelona in last season’s UEFA Champions League group stage.
• The defeat by Barça ended the Nerazzurri’s nine-game unbeaten run against Liga opposition at San Siro (W3 D6) stretching back to a 2-0 loss to Alavés in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup fourth round. It was only their second defeat at home to a Spanish club in 20 fixtures (W9 D9).
• Victory against Getafe in last season’s UEFA Europa League round of 16 was only Inter’s 14th win against Spanish opposition. Half of those, however, have been against Real Madrid.
• Madrid went down 3-2 at home to Shakhtar on Matchday 1 and looked set for a fourth consecutive European defeat for the first time in their history when they trailed 2-0 at Mönchengladbach in their second fixture, but late goals from Benzema (87) and Casemiro (90+3) came to their rescue.
• Spanish champions for a record-extending 34th time in 2019/20, this is Madrid’s 25th UEFA Champions League campaign – a joint record along with Barcelona. They have qualified for the knockout rounds in all of their 25 seasons, also a competition best.
• This is the 13-time champions’ 51st European Cup campaign, more than any other side.
• Madrid have finished second in their group three times in the last four seasons.
• In 2019/20, Zinédine Zidane’s side were runners-up in their section behind eventual finalists Paris Saint-Germain. They were beaten 3-0 in the French capital on Matchday 1 and let slip a two-goal lead late on to draw 2-2 at home in the reverse fixture; they were also held at home by Club Brugge by the same scoreline. Madrid did win 3-1 in Belgium, and beat Galatasaray away (1-0) and at home (6-0) to finish on 11 points, five fewer than Paris.
• Madrid’s campaign came to an end in the round of 16, however, as they lost 2-1 home and away to Manchester City.
• Having reached the semi-finals or better for eight successive seasons between 2010/11 and 2017/18, Madrid have therefore lost in the last 16 in each of the last two campaigns, bowing out against Ajax in 2018/19.
• Matchday 3 was only Madrid’s second win in their last seven UEFA Champions League matches (D2 L3) and their second in eight home games (D2 L4).
• Madrid have lost six of their last 14 UEFA Champions League matches (W5 D3).
• The Spanish side have won 16 of their last 27 European away matches, losing six.
• Benzema’s goal on Matchday 2 means he has matched Lionel Messi’s record of scoring in 16 successive UEFA Champions League campaigns.
• Madrid have won nine of their last ten games against Italian clubs, the exception a 3-1 home defeat by Juventus – who they beat 4-1 in the 2017 UEFA Champions League final in Cardiff – in the 2017/18 quarter-final second leg. Madrid nevertheless squeezed through having won 3-0 in Turin.
• The Merengues have won their last four games in Italy, most recently a 2-0 success at Roma in the 2018/19 group stage, having previously gone eight matches without a victory (D4 L4).
Links and trivia
• Zidane was a Juventus team-mate of Conte between 1996 and 2001, the pair winning the Serie A title in 1997 and 1998.
• Achraf Hakimi joned Madrid in 2006, stepping up to the reserve side in 2016. His first-team debut came in October 2017 and he went on to score twice in his nine Liga appearances that season, also featuring twice in Madrid’s victorious UEFA Champions League campaign. He joined Dortmund on a two-year loan in 2018 before making a permanent switch to Inter in July 2020.
• Have also played in Spain:
Arturo Vidal (Barcelona 2018–20)
Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona 2011–14)
• Vidal’s record against Madrid with Barcelona was W3 D2 L1; he scored in Barça’s 5-1 Liga victory at the Camp Nou in October 2018.
• Sánchez scored three goals in his 13 matches for Barcelona against Madrid; his record was W5 D4 L4.
• International team-mates:
Aleksandar Kolarov & Luka Jović (Serbia)
Romelu Lukaku & Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard (Belgium)
Ivan Perišić & Luka Modrić, Marcelo Brozović (Croatia)
• Have played together:
Romelu Lukaku & Eden Hazard (Chelsea 2013)
Arturo Vidal & Toni Kroos (Bayer Leverkusen 2009/10)