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Manchester City’s date with destiny takes place this Saturday as they face off against Inter Milan with a maiden Champions League title and magical treble up for grabs for the Blues. It is the second time that City have played in a Champions League final and this time they will be looking to go better after coming up short against Chelsea in the 2021 final in Porto.
Many of the players who played in that game are expected to feature again on Saturday with the biggest change being the addition of a goalscoring phenomenon, Erling Haaland who has had a breathtaking debut season at the club after signing from Borussia Dortmund last summer.
The Norweigan has 52 goals to his name so far this season and he will be confident of adding to that tally in Istanbul on Saturday night.
Their opponents on the night, Inter Milan, are chasing a fourth Champions League title but will enter the match as underdogs against Pep Guardiola’s men. Not many people would have predicted at the start of the season that Simone Inzaghi’s men would be in the final of Europe’s showpiece event and no one can say they’ve had it easy.
They qualified from a group that contained Barcelona and Bayern Munich and overcame their bitter rivals, AC Milan, in the semi-finals.
The match is due to kick off at 20:00 UK time and people in the United Kingdom will be able to watch the action live on BT Sport.
Manchester City Team News: Kyle Walker struggling with a back problem
Going into the biggest game of the season, Pep Guardiola is in an excellent position in terms of squad availability. Nathan Ake has fully recovered from his hamstring issues while Jack Grealish and Kevin de Bruyne have shaken off the niggles that kept out them out of the team in the final week of the Premier League season.
The only player in the City squad that has had a question mark over their name in the build-up to the final has been Kyle Walker. The England right-back missed training earlier in the week after suffering a minor back injury in the FA Cup final against Manchester United last weekend. However, he has since resumed full training and is expected to be named in the starting eleven on Saturday.
Breaking: Kyle Walker has no concerns over his fitness for the #UCLFinal. Speaking to @BenRansomSky, he put his absence from #ManCity training today down to 'old age', saying he has had a lot of minutes in his legs, and Pep Guardiola told him to do individual work instead.
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) June 6, 2023
With Walker available, it is expected that Guardiola will go with same ten outfield players who played against their City rivals at Wembley last weekend. The only change to the lineup will be the return of Ederson in goal with Stefan Ortega coming out of the team.
City may not have been at their brilliant best at Wembley but this is a team with the experience and talent to get through difficult spells even when they aren’t at their best.
Inter Milan Team News: Mkhitaryan to be available for Inzaghi
Simone Inzaghi has a few more injury concerns than his opposite number going into the Istanbul final but he will still be pretty content with how his team is shaping up.
The two biggest concerns for the Inter boss are the availability of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Joaquin Correa. Mkhitaryan was forced off in the second leg of Inter’s Champions League semi-final with AC Milan while Correa picked up a calf injury in the recent Coppa Italia final against Fiorentina.
Both men are expected to be passed fit, however, only Mkhitaryan has a realistic chance of starting the match with Correa more likely to be utilised as an impact substitute.
"This is the match of our lives – maybe there'll not be another chance in our lifetime, so we have to do our best."#Inter #ChampionsLeague @SempreIntercom @InterStats @ItaFootPod pic.twitter.com/tdmjYKp25f
— CGTN Sports Scene (@CGTNSportsScene) June 6, 2023
Up front, Inzaghi has a tough decision to make in relation to who pairs with Lautaro Martinez. Although Edin Dzeko has been favoured for much of the season, Inzaghi may be tempted to start with Romelu Lukaku given the extra pace that the Belgian would give the side on the counterattack.
At the other end of the pitch, the back Inter back five will need to have the games of their lives if they are to keep Manchester City out on the night while Andre Onana will need to be faultless in between the sticks.
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