Last season’s UEFA Champions League runners-up face a tough assignment in the round of 16 this time around. We look ahead to Tuesday’s first leg at San Siro with our Inter Milan vs Atlético Madrid prediction and preview.

Inter Milan vs Atlético Madrid Stats: The Quick Hits

  • Inter are favourites to establish a first-leg lead over Atlético Madrid when the sides meet on Tuesday, winning 52.0% of the Opta supercomputer’s pre-match simulations.
  • The Nerazzurri have only lost one of their last 13 Champions League games (seven wins, five draws), keeping a clean sheet in 62% of those matches (eight).
  • Antoine Griezmann has scored 31 of Atlético’s total of 169 goals in the Champions League (18%). Of all clubs with at least 100 goals in the competition, only Lionel Messi for Barcelona (21%, 120/561) has netted a higher share of his team’s total.

Match Preview

Last week, we saw UEFA Champions League holders Manchester City resume their defence of the trophy with a 3-1 win over FC Copenhagen, and this week, it’s the turn of last season’s runners-up. Internazionale are flying in Serie A and are being taken seriously as a potential challenger in Europe, but they face a difficult test in the last 16 against Diego Simeone’s battle-hardened Atlético Madrid.

Both teams should approach Tuesday’s match in high spirits after recording comprehensive victories on the domestic front. On Friday, Inter remained on course to win the Serie A title with a 4-0 thrashing of Salernitana, then Atlético went one better in La Liga a day later, routing Las Palmas 5-0 to stay on track for a top-four finish.

With the Opta supercomputer giving Inter a 99.6% chance of capturing the Italian title after their latest win, the Nerazzurri should be able to put everything into a tilt at a fourth European crown. Simone Inzaghi’s side finished second to Real Sociedad on goal difference in Group D, but their only loss in their last 13 Champions League matches remains last year’s final defeat to Man City.

Winning seven games and drawing five during that time, the rock-solid Nerazzurri have also kept a clean sheet in 62% of those matches (eight), only conceding nine times in total.

With Alessandro Bastoni, Francesco Acerbi and Benjamin Pavard protecting Yann Sommer, Inter conceded just five times in six group games, with only three teams in the competition allowing opponents fewer than their 5.38 expected goals against (xGA) – Man City (3.32), Real Sociedad and Arsenal (both 3.81).

The Nerazzurri also have their fair share of technicians in attack, though, not least their Argentine talisman Lautaro Martínez, who has 12 Champions League goals for Inter. That tally has only ever been bettered by Adriano (14) and Julio Cruz (13) in the club’s history, and Martínez has scored on each on his last two starts against Spanish clubs, including once against Real Sociedad this season.

Lautaro Martínez Champions League Goals

In Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 system, much of the creativity comes from the wing-backs, with Federico Dimarco ranking joint-first among all Serie A players for open-play chances created (2.1) and expected assists (0.29) per 90 minutes this season. On the other flank, Denzel Dumfries ranks seventh for the former metric (1.8) and sixth for the latter (0.21).

Inzaghi faces an anxious wait on the fitness of Acerbi, who has a slight muscle issue, while Juan Cuadrado is a long-term absentee with an Achilles injury.

Opponents Atlético, meanwhile, have evolved somewhat this season. Lining up in their own 3-5-2 shape, Los Colchoneros have combined the traditional grit of a Simeone side with a newfound attacking groove.

Indeed, Atlético were without leading goalscorer Álvaro Morata and opted to rest Antoine Griezmann for Saturday’s meeting with Las Palmas, but Marcos Llorente and Ángel Correa each scored twice before Memphis Depay capped their five-star performance late on.

Simeone’s side also scored 17 goals in their six group games in this competition, and they have only ever netted more in a single Champions League campaign in 2013-14, when they reached the final and scored 26 times in 13 games.

Morata will be absent on Tuesday after sustaining a bone contusion and minor ligament damage, in a major blow to the visitors’ hopes. Morata has five goals in six Champions League games this season, a tally only matched by Erling Haaland, Griezmann and Rasmus Højlund. The last Spanish player to score more for a Spanish club in a single edition of the competition was Diego Costa, who netted eight times in 2013-14.

In Morata’s absence, Griezmann will assume even greater responsibility. The France star, who recently became Atlético’s all-time leading goalscorer, has netted 18% of the club’s 169 total goals in the Champions League. Among all clubs to have scored 100 or more goals in the competition, only Barcelona have seen a greater proportion netted by one player (Lionel Messi, 21%, 120/561).

He is one of several experienced operators who will take to the field for two streetwise sides. Atlético (29 years, 205 days) and Inter (29 years, 167 days) are the two teams remaining in the Champions League with the highest average age of their starting lineups this season. Of all 32 teams to play in the group stage, only Sevilla (30 years, 66 days) had a higher average age.

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Inter Milan vs Atlético Madrid Head-to-Head

Inter and Atlético have only met in one previous competitive match; in the 2010 edition of the UEFA Super Cup. Goals from José Antonio Reyes and Sergio Agüero helped Los Colchoneros to a 2-0 win.

Under Simeone, Atlético have won five of their six knockout games against Italian teams in major European competitions, though the most recent of those matches was a 3-0 defeat to Juventus in the Champions League’s last 16 in 2018-19, which knocked them out of the tournament.

Inter, meanwhile, have not faced Spanish opposition in a Champions League knockout tie since the 2009-10 semi-finals, when José Mourinho’s team beat Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate.

Atlético have a less-than-impressive record in Italy overall, only winning five of their 18 away matches there in major European competitions (four draws, nine defeats), but they have won their two games at San Siro in that run, beating Milan 1-0 in 2014 and 2-1 in 2021.

Recent Form

Inter have won their last eight games across all competitions, going unbeaten through their last 26 (20 wins, six draws, including an extra-time loss to Sassuolo in the Coppa Italia).

They are also unbeaten in their last eight home Champions League matches, winning six and drawing two since suffering back-to-back defeats to Liverpool and Barcelona in 2022.

Atlético, meanwhile, have struggled on the road of late, only winning two of their last seven away games in all competitions (one draw, four losses).

However, they did go unbeaten on the road in the Champions League group stage, drawing at Lazio (1-1) and Celtic (2-2) then beating Feyenoord 3-1.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off on Tuesday night at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, here is the current Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Inter Milan vs Atlético Madrid Prediction

Inter vs Atletico Madrid Prediction

Italy’s champions-elect have been in irresistible form lately, and the Opta supercomputer makes them favourites to take a first-leg lead to Spain.

Across 10,000 match simulations conducted ahead of kick-off, Inter triumphed in 52.0% of scenarios, with Atlético given a 22.8% chance of victory and 25.2% finishing level at full-time.

In the Opta supercomputer’s overall Champions League predictions, Inter are given a 66.1% chance of winning this tie, to Atlético’s 34.9%. Only Premier League giants Man City (32.1%) and Real Madrid (18.4%) are given a better chance of lifting the trophy than the Nerazzurri (12.6%), with Atlético’s hopes rated at 2.6%.

Inter Milan vs Atlético Madrid UCL Squads

Inter Milan squad: Yann Sommer, Emil Audero, Raffaele Di Gennaro, Denzel Dumfries, Tajon Buchanan, Matteo Darmian, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni, Yann Bisseck, Stefan de Vrij, Benjamin Pavard, Federico Dimarco, Carlos Augusto, Nicolò Barella, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Davide Frattesi, Davy Klaasen, Kristjan Asllani, Marko Arnautović, Marcus Thuram, Lautaro Martínez, Alexis Sánchez.

Head coach: Simone Inzaghi

Atlético Madrid squad: Horatiu Moldovan, Jan Oblak, José María Giménez, Gabriel, Stefan Savić, Nahuel Molina, Mario Hermoso, Reinildo, Rodrigo De Paul, Koke, Saúl Ñíguez, Thomas Lemar, Samuel Lino, Marcos Llorente, Rodrigo Riquelme, Arthur Vermeeren, Axel Witsel, Sergio Guerrero, Antoine Griezmann, Memphis Depay, Ángel Correa, Álvaro Morata, Álex Calatrava, Abdellah Raihani.

Head coach: Diego Simeone

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