Real Madrid vs. Inter Milan: Three keys to a win in the Champions League

Real Madrid, Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images) /

The three keys to victory for Real Madrid on Tuesday against Inter Milan.

The biggest game of the season has come early for Los Blancos as they face Inter Milan in the Champions League group stage which may make or break their chances of making into the knockout rounds. Real Madrid will like to carry their league form to the Champions League and especially in this historical tie.

This is the tie which originated this saying “Noventa minuti en el Bernabeu son molto longo.”  or “Ninety minutes in the Bernabeu is a very long time.”

Real Madrid was 2-0 down at San Siro against Inter Milan during UEFA Super Cup semi-final in 1984/85.

After the final whistle, Juanito approached an Inter defender and said these exact lines, and Real Madrid triumphantly defeated the Inter 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Since then Real Madrid fans sing songs about the Juanito spirit whenever the team needs a Remontada. The game against Inter on Tuesday will be a special one and will require a huge collective effort for all three points. I am pointing out what Real Madrid needs to do right to get their first victory in Champions League this season.

Defending Inter’s threat from the wings

Antonio Conte loves playing a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2 and his major attacking threat comes through attacking wing backs. Conte had Marcos Alonso and Azpilicueta or Victor Moses doing that job for him at Chelsea. Marcos Alonso turned out to be a major threat in the attack for The Blues during Conte’s short stint. Conte now has Achraf Hakimi one of the best young wing backs in the world and he has all the pace and the attacking threat making him an ideal choice for the Italian manager.

Real Madrid will have to defend overloaded wing positions with both wing backs and their forwards overloading that space. That is going to be a major concern for Madrid as they only have two fit full backs. Playing Militao as a full back would prove to be a bad choice as he will have to deal with some pacy customers like Perisic and Hakimi. This will require a big defensive shift from Eden Hazard as well which he is not known for, two way wingers are the only way to stall this threat.

Real Madrid, Karim Benzema
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images) /

Efficiency going forward

Real Madrid’s major woes since Cristiano Ronaldo left has been in the attack as the team has majorly relied on Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos’ heroics to get the goals. Inter is not a side that will allow many chances just like any Antonio Conte side and Madrid’s attackers will have to be patient in the buildup and have to grind to get all three points.

This will require Real Madrid to put away the few chances that they will get here and there. It is good to see Karim Benzema finally finding his goalscoring boots in the last few games, and it will be good to see him continue that run.

Eden Hazard’s rocket on Saturday is a good sign, and we can expect more of the same from him. Real Madrid’s shot volume has decreased a lot since Cristiano left and it is good to see Eden trying to take such shots and put pressure on the opposition.

Marcelo Brozovic
Marcelo Brozovic (Photo by Franco Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images) /

Limiting Marcelo Brozovic’s influence

Marcelo Brozovic is the main man who holds Inter’s midfield together. He is their major player who helps the team from playing out from the back and sprays progressive passes forwards to bypass the opposition threat. Brozovic’s role is just being a sitting midfielder and help progressing the ball from the centre backs to the midfield and attack. Zinedine Zidane loves playing a high press and to try and win the ball back from the opposition.

Brozovic is the main man who helps Inter bypass the high press. Zidane will have to make a plan to take him out of the game to dent Inter’s chances of winning the game. Brozovic constantly drops into the pocket of space, providing an outlet to his centre backs to bypass the high press from the opposition.

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Apart from this, Brozovic is also assigned the job to spray passes to the forwards either Lautaro Martinez or Romelu Lukaku. Given that Lukaku is out of the first leg Brozovic’s job would be to play it directly to one of the wide attackers most likely Perisic. This helps Inter to play direct football out from the back and helps Inter to break opposition lines with ease. Brozovic is the lynchpin to this Inter side and taking him out of the game would help Zidane’s men a lot.