Champions League Final Preview: Manchester City -v- Internazionale

A general view during FC Internazionale Milano training ahead of the UEFA Champions League 2022/23 final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium

A general view during FC Internazionale Milano training ahead of the UEFA Champions League 2022/23 final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium Credit: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile/UEFA

Macdara Ferris reports from the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul


There has been a lot of treble talk ahead of this season’s Champions League Final as City look to become the third British side to manage the feat and the tenth European club to win their domestic double and European Cup in the same season.

Manchester United (1998/99) and Celtic (1966/67) were the last British sides to win all three trophies, with Celtic actually doing the quadruple winning the League Cup as well.

City’s second half to the season saw them overhaul Arsenal and win the Premier League with relative ease. Their cross city rivals Manchester United were merely a speedbump to the Sky Blues in last weekend’s FA Cup final. And so they move onto the final leg in the treble quest.

For Portuguese defender Reuben Dias, he for one is embracing the treble pressure as he outlined in the stadium just before training on the pitch on the eve of the game. “For a long time, the pressure has been on and we love it. It will make you run faster and jump higher.

“I’ve been saying for a while, since February it has been the sweet spot. You can see the character of teams and if they want to move forward or hide. Our team has shown up every time.”

Facing them in the Champions League final are Inter Milan who are playing in their first European Cup final for 13 years. However when they last did so in the 2010 final, the victory earned Inter a treble of their own.

The team from Milan are not at the level of Man City’s previous Champions League final opponents Chelsea who defeated the City 1-0 in the 2021 final and so Saturday’s game represents a brilliant opportunity for the Sky Blues to claim their first European Cup.

When asked in the pre-match press conference what lessons can be learned from that defeat, Pep Guardiola said: “I don’t know. It is two years later. The plan against Chelsea didn’t work. I have a plan and an idea for this final. Those ideas will be good if we have success and bad if we lose.”

Kevin De Bruyne said: "We lost two years ago but that happens. We weren’t good enough on the day. We have another opportunity to prove that we can win this competition."

The deep bank vaults in Abu Dhabi with exceptionally lucrative Gulf sponsorships, not to mention the 100+ alleged breaches of Premier League financial rules, mean that while City will be the bookies favourites, Pep Guardiola’s side are certainly not fan favourites.


Can Inter Milan really stop the juggernaut that is Man City? Is their best hope Guardiola coming up with some novel approach in the final like in 2021 that might actually derail his own team? Could Simone Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 formation with his two men up top approach possibly destabilise City?

All unlikely but with it being a one off tie and Inter’s strikers in decent form (but obviously not at the level of 52 goal man Erling Haaland) the improbable is still possible.

“Clearly we know how strong Manchester City are and what a player Haaland is,” said Simone Inzaghi at the press conference in the stadium on the eve of the game. “We will have a special eye on him. I have prepared something.”

Defensively Inter have done well in this campaign, keeping eight clean sheets from their last 11 matches.

Simone Inzaghi’s side have conceded ten goals (but that is twice that of City). Their two defeats in this year’s Champions League came against Bayern Munich at the start and end of their group stage campaign. Since then they won four of their six knockout games, keeping five clean sheets along the way.

Romelu Lukaku has seven goals from his last seven Serie A appearances for the Nerazzurri while World Cup winner Lautaro Martínez has seven in his last eight. The Belgian big man scored against Napoli and was also on target in Inter's 3-2 win against Atalanta at the end of last month. 

Home fans will be most likely cheering on Inter as Turkey international Hakan Calhanoglu is in their team and Man City’s German international Ilkay Gundogan decided against playing for his Turkish homeland.

“I’m very proud that I’m playing this final in my home country,” said Calhanoglu.

“Turks will be supporting me. We have Ilkay Gundogan on the other team but clearly he plays for Germany so perhaps for our people it is more important for me to win.

“I’m sure my people are behind me and pray for me. I hope as a Turkish player that I can lift that trophy. This is something I’ve wanted since a child.”

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)



Victory would take Inter on to four European Cups, level with Ajax and behind Real Madrid (14), Milan (seven), Bayern, Liverpool (both six) and Barcelona (five). They are currently on three alongside City's local rivals Manchester United.

Pep Guardiola is seeking to become the third manager to win the European Cup three times, alongside Bob Paisley and Zinedine Zidane – last year’s winning coach Carlo Ancelotti has four winners medals to his name.

City are looking to be the 15th side to lift the European Cup trophy without losing a game and the eighth to do so in the UEFA Champions League era


2-0 win for City


Manchester City

Injured: None

Doubtful: Kyle Walker, Manuel Akanji

Suspended: None


Injured: Dalbert

Doubtful:  Joaquín Correa, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Milan Skriniar

Suspended: None