Pictured: Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic
Betting odds: Inter Milan at Barcelona
- Inter moneyline: +550
- Barcelona moneyline: -189
- Draw: +350
- Over/Under: 3 (+106/-119)
- Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
- Channel: BR Live
>> All odds as of Wednesday 5 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time Soccer odds and track your bets
There’s little doubt that Wednesday night boasts the more highly anticipated matches in the Champions League this week, with Inter Milan’s return to Camp Nou — the home of Barcelona — among the most mouth-watering contest.
The two sides last met on a memorable night back in 2010, in the second leg of a Champions League semifinal, and it’s a match that still irks fans of the Catalan club.
Looking to defend a shocking 3-1 first-leg win in San Siro, Jose Mourinho’s Inter parked the bus to earn a place in the final, with Barcelona managing only a 1-0 win despite mustering 20 shots to Inter’s one — a strike off target from more than 40 yards.
Eight years have passed, but the home crowd will still see this match as a chance to exact some revenge on a gut-wrenching defeat, although Barca will have to do so without their star man.
Lionel Messi suffered a fractured arm early on in the weekend win over Sevilla and will miss out, but Inter’s victory in the Milan derby on Sunday also came at a cost.
Radja Nainggolan is certain to miss out through injury, and while Croatian duo Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic have both traveled to Spain, both are severe doubts to start the game on Wednesday.
All three are pivotal first-team players for the Nerazzurri, playing important roles in a run of seven consecutive victories in all competitions.
Barcelona can’t boast anything like such an impressive record in recent weeks, but their win on Saturday did restore the La Liga trophy-holders to the top spot at Sevilla’s expense.
Moreover, while the injury to Messi is of course a significant blow, the fact that the hosts have had an extra day’s rest should play into their hands.
If Inter are weakened to the degree that they could well be, they really do face an uphill battle to get a result, but also know that a defeat — provided it isn’t too heavy — wouldn’t be a disaster considering their six-point advantage over both Tottenham and PSV heading into Wednesday’s fixtures.
Finding the right angle for a home win is the challenge then, and given the visitors’ injury woes, we could see a trend continue when these sides have met at Camp Nou.
Not only have Barcelona won the last three meetings between the teams when playing as hosts, but Inter haven’t so much as scored a goal across said games. While their current winning streak is impressive, they needed 92 minutes to score the only goal of the game against fierce rivals AC Milan last time out, and their efforts into the dying stages may well lead to some fatigue.