MILAN, Italy (Reuters) – Inter Milan have their work cut out in the Champions League group stage against two strong teams in Bayern Munich and Barcelona and the fans’ voices will be key when they take on the German giants, coach Simone Inzaghi said on Tuesday.
Inter are looking to bounce back after a Serie A derby defeat by AC Milan over the weekend and Inzaghi’s side open their Champions League group stage campaign at the San Siro on Wednesday against six-times champions Bayern Munich.
“Tomorrow our fans will be of great help, we know the opponent we will face and their strength. It’s a very competitive group, but tomorrow’s match must be an opportunity after Saturday’s disappointment,” Inzaghi told reporters.
“We have to score 10 points in this group, which is objectively very difficult, even compared to last year. But we are Inter and facing Bayern is an opportunity. They are one of the candidates to win the trophy.
“I have seen Bayern’s last two (Bundesliga) games (1-1 draws against Borussia Moenchengladbach and Union Berlin), in terms of numbers (statistics) there was no match. The opponents were good at limiting them with continuous aggression.
“Bayern have such intensity and aggressiveness, they are one of the best teams in Europe,” he added.
Inzaghi said midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan would play a part after making 30-minute cameo appearances after his recovery from a hamstring injury but refused to confirm if he would start.
“Mkhitaryan came in very well from the bench on Saturday. He is a quality player who will help us a lot,” Inzaghi said.
“He has been working at full strength for a week. He can be a solution from the start or in the match. There is one training session left, I will decide tomorrow.”
The proverbial ‘Group of Death’ means Inter will be up against Bayern’s Sadio Mane and Barca’s Robert Lewandowski, and Inzaghi praised both forwards.
“Mane we already met last year with Liverpool, he is a great footballer with crazy intensity. He does everything both defensively and offensively,” Inzaghi said.
“Lewandowski, I met him in my Lazio days, he is a great player. In a month and a half we will meet both Bayern and Barcelona. They will be very difficult (matches), but beautiful and challenging.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)