Real Sociedad vs Inter Milan
Reale Arena forms the backdrop for an exciting Champions League Group D opener between Real Sociedad and Inter Milan.
Real Sociedad’s long absence from Europe’s top table is about to come to an end after a fourth-place La Liga finish last term booked their first Champions League group stage appearance since 2013/14. Imanol Alguacil hopes the impending return to the continent’s most prestigious competition could bring a change in fortunes after his men only won once in their opening five league matches this season (D3, L1). However, the Spaniards have encountered little luck in the Champions League, going winless in their last 12 games in the competition proper (D4, L8), casting doubt on their bid to beat Inter in only their second-ever European home clash following a 2-0 victory in the 1979/80 UEFA Cup group phase. They have gone winless in all six European encounters against Italian sides in the 21st century (D3, L3), bowing out of last season’s Europa League round of 16 to Roma without finding the net.
On the other hand, Inter Milan’s sixth consecutive foray into the Champions League group stages commences in the best possible moment for the club following an emphatic 5-1 derby win over arch-rivals AC Milan last weekend. Simone Inzaghi’s men have seemingly overcome the pain of a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the 2022/23 Champions League final, starting the new Serie A campaign with all four victories and a +12 goal difference (GF13, GA1). Inter’s continental form looks equally impressive, with just two losses from their last 12 Champions League outings (W7, D3). And barring the abovementioned heartache against Man City, ‘I Nerazzurri’ have run riot in seven of their last eight competitive games (W7, L1), racking up an intimidating aggregate score of 19-3 in that sequence.