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Champions League

Champions League Final Preview

After months of exciting matches and performances, the UEFA Champions League final is here, with Manchester City and Inter Milan eager to get their hands on such a coveted trophy. While these two institutions have had very different journeys in recent times, winning the Champions League is going to mean a lot to them and, in a way, to their respective leagues and football as a whole.

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Who is the favorite at the moment? How did they arrive at the final? Who are their top players? Let’s find out.

Manchester City

There is no denying that City are the favorites for the final. They are not only the recently-crowned champions in the English Premier League, the most competitive league in the world, but they also have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to squad depth and a manager that knows how to play finals in Pep Guardiola.

City’s road to the final was very straightforward and they managed to overcome two very prominent ordeals in Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Los Blancos were a harder nut to crack, with the first leg in the Santiago Bernabeu being a 1-1 draw, but City then arrived with a massive 4-0 win in the second leg that highlighted how dominant they have been in recent months.

Erling Haaland has received most of the plaudits due to his goalscoring record and rightfully so, but there are other players that are equally important. Jack Grealish has cemented his place on the left, creating a lot of chances for his team, and Bernardo Silva, constantly moved around by Guardiola in their setup, has made a place for himself down the right flank. The triumvirate of Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, and Kevin De Bruyne is massively important as well.

An FA Cup final against Manchester United notwithstanding, as of this writing, City are in pole position to win the treble this season and arrive to the final in Istanbul as the absolute favorites.

Inter Milan

The Italian giants’ journey to the final wasn’t as glamorous as City’s, but they have still proven themselves as competitive. Recent Coppa Italia winners, they qualified from a group that had the likes of FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and while their road to the final wasn’t as tough as their rivals’ (Porto, Benfica, and AC Milan), they still had to win those games to get here.

Manager Simone Inzaghi has a very successful rate in finals as manager of both Lazio and Inter, so that is an argument that can help them in this situation, and he has been usually playing with a 3-5-2 formation, usually with Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko upfront. Romelu Lukaku has recovered some of his best form in recent weeks, although he hasn’t been a full-blown starter and barely has had more than one hundred minutes in this Champions League campaign.

The midfield of Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Marcelo Brozovic, and Nicolo Barella is going to be key against City’s, and Inzaghi has always been prone to using his wing-backs, which are going to have to play a big role to stop the likes of Grealish and Silva down the flanks.

In general terms, Inter are definitely the underdogs in this matchup, but a lot can happen in 90 or 120 minutes.

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