What would be a first: The 110-time international has never played at club level in Austria. But the hosts in particular are under pressure.
Points are needed in the sold-out home game in order to stay in the promotion race. Last but not least, the good performance in the 1:2 in the first leg was encouraging. “We want to take something with us, that is the clear goal”said Salzburg coach Gerhard Struber before the duel with the Serie A leaders. “We saw that we had to be very proactive and bold. Even for very experienced players with this quality, we are not that easy to deal with. We know what Inter isn’t really good for. We did a pretty good job of that in this game”explained Struber.
“Little space, little time” can be given to the finalist from the previous season. “They are not familiar with this unbridled pressure from the league. Players like Barella and Calhanoglu shine with their technical skills. If you take time and space away from these players, then we take away quality”explained the 46-year-old. “We have to take away the happy air of playing football. This way we can stress an opponent at this level.”
The high quality of coach Simone Inzaghi’s team, whose top striker Lautaro Martinez scores almost on an assembly line (13 goals in 14 games in the league and CL), is evident. “Inter can make a lot out of very little. Often not that much is visible, but in the end something great always happens”says Struber, whose team is third in Group D with three points and is currently four points behind Inter and Real Sociedad, but still ahead of Benfica, who have no points.
“Difficult to control”
Struber saw with both a laughing and a crying eye that ÖFB striker Arnautovic was back in the Inter squad. “We know what he has achieved for Austria in recent years. I’m glad that team boss Ralf Rangnick has him available again. But we also know that he has fantastic possibilities on the ball because he is difficult to control in many ways. That doesn’t make it any easier for us.”
Dortmund beat Newcastle
Sabitzer preparatory work: Borussia Dortmund took an important step towards the round of 16 in the Champions League yesterday. BVB beat Newcastle United 2-0 at home. ÖFB team player Marcel Sabitzer did the preparatory work for the opening goal. FC Barcelona missed the chance of early promotion with a 0-1 defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk in Hamburg. The Catalans suffered their second defeat in their last three competitive games.
Tuchel hope: Four days after the convincing 4-0 win over Dortmund, Bayern Munich can complete their place in the round of 16 in the home game against Galatasaray Istanbul today (9 p.m./live on Sky). “That would be a huge confirmation for the whole team,” said coach Thomas Tuchel about the possible progression on the fourth of six match days. Bayern lead Group A with nine points, clearly ahead of Istanbul (four points).
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