FC Barcelona (3rd, 3pts) vs FC Inter Milan (2nd, 6pts)
Competition/Round: 2022-23 UEFA Champions League, Group C, Matchday 4
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen, Memphis Depay, Héctor Bellerín (out)
Inter Milan Outs & Doubts: Romelu Lukaku, Marcelo Brozovic, Alex Cordaz (out)
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Thursday)
Venue: Spotify Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
VAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (POL)
How to watch on TV: TUDN (USA), Not Available (Canada), BT Sport 4 (UK), Canal+ Sport 4 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India), Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain), others
Following an exercise in survival against Celta Vigo to keep their winning streak alive and return to the top of the La Liga table, Barcelona turn their attentions back to the Champions League and the most important game of their entire season as they welcome Inter Milan to the Spotify Camp Nou for their second straight group stage meeting.
Last week’s defeat at San Siro, as painful and controversial as it was, made this a true win or go home scenario for the Catalans. Due to UEFA’s rules that count head-to-head record as the first tiebreaker in the group stage, Barça will be eliminated from the Champions League if they lose to Inter and Bayern Munich pick up at least a point away to Viktoria Plzen in the other game in the group.
Even a draw is practically a death sentence from a math standpoint, so there is no other acceptable result than a win. And if they win by a two-goal margin, Barça will have the head-to-head advantage over Inter and finish Matchday 4 in front of the Italians in second place, thus controlling their destiny ahead of the final two group matches.
As crazy as it sounds, the Blaugrana’s fate in the Champions League is still in their hands. But it doesn’t feel that way. The performances since the international break have been mediocre at best, and the high-flying attack from the first six weeks of the season has been replaced by a slow, toothless offense that doesn’t scare anyone.
Xavi Hernández has had a full week to put together a winning plan for Wednesday night, and it’s up to the coach to select the best team and tactics to give his men a real chance of winning. The players have to step up too, and Robert Lewandowski has to rediscover his best football and also get some real help from the people around him.
The Blaugrana still have a long road ahead of them even if they win this one, but getting all three points with enough goals to win the head-to-head matchup will be a giant boost of confidence for the final two games. Inter will no doubt try to replicate the formula that got them a huge result last week, so Barça will have to remain patient while still being very aggressive in attack to break down the Italians’ backline.
It’s worth repeating that Barça’s Champions League journey could come to an end on Wednesday night. Camp Nou is sold out, and the crowd will have to play a major part. This will be very, very tense, and the pressure is massive. It’s decision time.
Forget the dancing.
Just fucking win.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Eric, Balde; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Dembélé, Lewandowski, Fati
Inter Milan (3-5-2): Onana; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Çalhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Dzeko, Lautaro
My mind says be ready for the worst. My heart is Blaugrana: 3-0 Barça.