For the 2nd year in a row, Benfica managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League with enormous merit and morale to the stars, nimbling Brugge in the round of 16. On the contrary, Inter had not had to pass the round of 16 for 12 years (Inzaghi's team took Porto out). Above all, unlike the eagles, the Nerazzurri live the most complicated moment of their season.

Much of the evaluation of the year of the two challengers will depend on the challenge of the ‘Da Luz’ in Lisbon: both yearn for success in the first leg to continue riding the European dream.


Schmidt’s Benfica is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most important revelations of this Champions League edition. And this is certainly no coincidence: the Lisbon team has won and convinced everyone, asserting itself with merit and firmness among the top 8 in Europe, expressing an extremely qualitative and modern football.

Before the last championship game lost to Porto (1-2) – which will only be worth procrastinating the celebrations for the imminent victory of the Eagles championship -, Benfica was back from 8 consecutive victories between the championship and the cup. Schimdt’s team, still unbeaten in European competition, outperformed Brugge in the round of 16: the 0-2 in Belgium and a 5-1 round in Lisbon allowed the Lusitanians to land in the quarters no longer as an ‘underdog’, but – if possible – as favourites in the pairing with Inter, on the most affordable side of the score

Against the Nerazzurri is in doubt the full-back Bah, injured in the last match of Primeira Liga. Otamendi, pillar of the Lusitanian defense, will also be missing for disqualification: ready Verissimo. In the 4-2-3-1 of the German coach will play the former Joao Mario, Rafa Silva and Aursnes behind the very strong Ramos: the 2001 class has signed (with goals or assists) as many as 9 goals of his team in the last 8 games among all competitions.


The future of the Inter season passes through the crucial guru of the Champions League quarterfinals. Two races, round trip, in which it is forbidden to fail. Indeed, in which it is mandatory to reverse the roadmap that, from the end of February onwards, has given the Nerazzurri exclusively an abrupt skid, which will be difficult to remedy.

Inzaghi's team has not won since March 5 (Inter 1-0 Lecce), having ringed 6 consecutive games without success, but above all with 3 crushing defeats, which have caused the Nerazzurri formation to lose considerable ground in the Champions League perspective. In this non-smiling thread stands out the precious and daring draw - certainly a little lucky - of Porto (0-0), which guaranteed the landing in the quarters to the Italian team. With a double test of great spirit and self-denial – with palpitations in the final of the second leg -, Inzaghi’s team snatched a pass of the round that had been missing for 12 years. Now, however, the blindfolded goddess will no longer be enough: the real Inter needs to rediscover certainties and security, to recompate the environment and to return to row in one direction. Against Benfica – a respectable opponent and not to be underestimated – no joke: Inter have all the credentials to overcome the fearsome obstacle. He just has to believe it.

The Milanese team is back from a disappointing 1-1 draw in Salerno, cashed out at the timeout. They are likely to still be missing, as well as in the last league game, Calhanoglu and Skriniar. Ready again Mkhitaryan and Darmian. In front, in addition to Lautaro, is an open runoff between Lukaku and Dzeko, with the Bosnian not at his best, but probably more motivated than the Belgian.


Benfica (4-2-3-1): Vlachodimos; Gilberto, A. Silva, Verissimo, Grimaldo; Luis, Chiquinho; Joao Mario, R. Silva, Aursnes; Ramos. All.: Schmidt.

Inter (3-5-2): Onana; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez. All.: Inzaghi.


Numbers and curiosities:

Inter and Benfica have only crossed paths on three occasions in official matches. The 1965 European Cup final stands out, won 1-0 by Inter at San Siro. After that, 2 comparisons in the UEFA Cup, dating back to the 2003/2004 season, carrying a draw (0-0) and a success in Milan in favor of the Nerazzurri (4-3).

Inter have not won for 6 consecutive games between championship and cups, having never scored more than one goal and having conceded 6, keeping the goal inviolate in a single occasion

In 4 of Benfica's last 5 games, more than 2.5 total goals have been recorded, with the eagles able to sign the first marking of the match in all the last 10 challenges played.

In contrast, all of the Nerazzurri’s last 5 challenges offered a “under 2.5” score.

The final examination:

Schmidt's formation, as the odds narrate, is the real favorite of this first act of the quarterfinals. Benfica is a team of immense quality, with fast dribbling and characterized by great offensive battery technique. The eagles will want to assert the “homefactor”: they will score at least one goal to the Nerazzurri – who, apart from the Porto match, have always suffered at least one goal in the last 4 away games played between all the competitions – and will probably get a positive result. Inter will sell their skin dearly, because their future will depend on this double crossing: they will have to use the experience and the desire for redemption to avoid compromising the result before the return home game. Headlight points aimed at Goncalo Ramos, possible scorer of the match.

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