The Champions League is starting. Our opponents are the German champions Werder Bremen. They are a team Iīve sadly not have had the privilege of seeing the last years. I do recognise some of their profile players. They lost the biggest profile player during the summer- Ailton. Their replacement for the top-striker became Miroslav Klose. A one-hit-wonder from Kaiserslautern.
The player I recognise the most in Bremen is the French playmaker Johan Micoud. He used to play for Parma where he never really succeeded. However, when he moved to Bremen he became one of the biggest protagonists in European football. He played a big part of the winning team last season.
Bremen has started off the German league in a slow way. Having two victories but also two losses. They are ahead of Inter when it comes to match-fitness, so we have to be very careful. Being a German team they are also very tactically equipped. A strong defence and a lot of discipline. It will take a very disciplined game from us as well to win this game.
Inter played their first Serie A game this Saturday. It was against Chievo and finished in a 2-2 draw. This game was mostly about Inter having a poor defence and missing a lot of scoring chances. Our most important central defender is back for this game- Ivan Cordoba. Heīll form a partnership with Materazzi, since these two are the only real central defenders in Manciniīs squad for this game.
When it comes to fullbacks, itīs of course Zanetti and Favalli that will take those places. Favalli will have to pick up his game after an average performance against Chievo. Zanetti received less good compliments as well, so thereīs a lot to improve when it comes to our defence. With Cordoba being back, we should expect a better defence. Or else we will be in trouble for the rest of the season.
When it comes to midfield, there are more question-marks. We have gotten a preview of how the starting midfield will look in general for the season. But considering that we have three games on one week, some rotation is needed. A player that we might see starting this game could be Van der Meyde, pushing Ze Maria to the bench. But then again, Ze Maria is one of the most hailed players thus far in our team.
Veron has played quite a lot during the pre-season, so his fitness is questionable, but that only opens up for Emre why certainly lacks playing-time at the moment.
Davids and Stankovic feels like true starters. Davids biggest competition would be Cristiano Zanetti who is not included in the squad. Stankovic being the most in-form player in Inter, feels like a safe card unless Mancini decides to rotate.
Upfront we have as usual a delicate matter. Four really good players to choose from. Adriano who is usually the first choice, is a tired player by now. I wouldnīt bet on him to start this game, but then we have other players such as Recoba, Vieri and Cruz to do the scoring. Vieri who was lively against Chievo but highly inefficient. I doubt he will have two of those games in a row, so we need to rely on him to get back to his scoring form as well. Recoba should be back to full fitness after being tired from the National duties. Cruz is the most fit of them all, so him starting might be a very good possibility. Either way, Mancini can count himself lucky to have all these choices to choose from.
Inter is obviously the big favourites for this game, and if they fail to win, the Champions League campaign can take an ugly turn. Itīs essential that we win these home-games. It wonīt be easy, but we have the better team. Hopefully we are mentally and tactically prepared.