Lionel Messi’s health has become a matter of national concern. The best footballer of his generation has been sidelined by two different injuries so far this season, and Barcelona has faltered as a result of his prolonged absence. It’s not time to push the panic button just yet at the Camp Nou, but we are rapidly approaching that point. If the Blaugrana stumble at home to Inter Milan in Champions League action, that is going to sound some alarms.
Don’t miss this Champions League match from the Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. Catch every moment of the match live on TNT.
Champions League Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Inter Milan +414
Inter Milan are off to an excellent start in Serie A. They have won all five of their matches, and their stolid defense has only allowed one goal in league play. During this stretch, Inter have knocked off city rival AC Milan and Lazio, giving them hope they can finally end Juventus’ reign of supremacy.
While they have looked great in domestic action, Inter Milan did not acquit themselves well in their first Champions League match of the year. They were heavy favorites per the soccer betting odds against minnows Slavia Praha, but they had to scratch out a draw in extra time against the Czech squad. Inter allowed a goal in the 63rd minute and fell behind 1-0, but Nicolo Barella avoided abject disaster with a goal in the second minute of stoppage time.
Barcelona no longer have an iron grip on La Liga, and they have a 3-1-2 record after six matches. Barca are in sixth place, and they have yet to pick up a road result in league play. The Blaugrana lost to Athletic Bilbao 1-0, but that result wasn’t as surprising as the other two. Osasuna earned a draw against the defending league champions, and Granada stunned Barca with a 2-0 victory last weekend.
The club was unable to pick up a win on the road in its first Champions League match, but a 0-0 draw against Borussia Dortmund isn’t a bad result. Dortmund are one of the better teams in this competition, so that’s not a problem provided the club picks up a win here.
There are no injuries to report for Inter Milan ahead of this match. However, the same can’t be said for Barcelona. Defenders Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti are both going to miss this match to injury, while Messi is hopeful that he can go. Messi missed a month of action earlier this year due to a calf injury, and he left Tuesday’s win over Villarreal with a thigh injury. He is unlikely to play against Getafe on Saturday, and he is considered questionable for this match.
Matchup to Watch
Can Barcelona break down Inter’s back line without Messi? That will be the key to this match. Barca have an abundance of attacking talent with Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez, and Arthur, but they don’t have an orchestrator without Messi. Frenkie de Jong is young and growing into that role, but he’s not there just yet. Inter have been great at the back this season, so goals could be tough to come by.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
Keep an eye on Messi’s status for this match throughout the week. His presence or absence will have a major impact on the Champions League betting odds, and it will change my play. With a healthy Messi, I see Barcelona picking up a crucial three points, but if he is limited or out, Inter will pick up a result.
Champions League Prediction: Barcelona 1, Inter Milan 1
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