Sadio Mane (1st.r) is just one reason why Bayern Munich should be confident against Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League. - © DFL
Sadio Mane (1st.r) is just one reason why Bayern Munich should be confident against Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League. - © DFL

5 reasons Bayern Munich will beat Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League - AGAIN!


Bayern Munich host Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night, with Sadio Mane just one of the reasons the reigning record German champions should be confident of gaining a second victory of the season over the Italians.

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1) Bayern's Mane Man

Mane has settled into life at the Allianz Arena with real gusto; scoring in the Supercup victory over RB Leipzig, celebrating with fans at the final whistle of the club's Matchday 1 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt and posting some serious numbers in his opening weeks with the club. A goal on his DFB Cup debut followed efforts on his Supercup and Bundesliga bows, and while Mane didn't mark his first Champions League appearance for Bayern by finding the back of the net in the reverse, he has scored in each of his last three European outings.

While Bayern supporters have been looking to their 2019 Champions League winner for inspiration, Inter's faithful have been wistful over the absence of their own star summer signing. Romelu Lukaku, who helped the Nerazzurri become champions of Italy in 2021, returned to the club on loan to great fanfare in pre-season and also marked his second Inter debut with a goal. An early muscle injury, however, kept him out of Bayern's 2-0 victory in Milan and he is only now returning to the first-team fold with late minutes in recent weeks.

Watch: World Star: Sadio Mane

2) The power of the collective

The arrival of Mane was a response to Robert Lewandowski's departure after a stellar stint at Bayern, and outside observers pondered loudly whether the club could replace the Pole's goals. "We lost a striker who scored more than 50 goals, we have to compensate for that," acknowledge head coach Julian Nagelsmann in pre-season. "I think there could be or there will be solutions to compensate that... I think our movement will be really dangerous. I’m looking forward to see the new Bayern Munich after Lewy.”

Those comments raised a few eyebrows at the time, but Nagelsmann has been proven right and Bayern are as entertaining as they were before, if not more so. They've amassed 69 goals across 20 games in all competitions this season, at an average of 3.45 goals per game. Just Napoli (20) have scored more times than Bayern (16) after five matchdays of the 2022/23 Champions League group stages and they're scoring from all over the pitch. There have been 16 different scorers this season, with Mane leading the way on 11 goals in all comps. Jamal Musiala is just behind his Senegal teammate on 10, while Leroy Sane is also on double figures and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is in the form of his life after scoring seven times in October alone. This may just be the most potent Bayern attack in history.

Watch: Analysing Choupo-Moting's impact on Bayern

3) Rock-solid at the back

While Mane & Co. have taken the headlines for their goalscoring exploits, Bayern's defence has been exemplary also. Any suggestion that Leipzig's three goals in the Supercup may have exposed a leaky backline have been wafted away by Nagelsmann's team conceding just 10 times in the league and twice in Europe. Not only that, they stopped Lewandowski and his new cohorts at Barcelona from registering a single shot on target when they met last time out.

Only Union Berlin have a better defence domestically, and just Manchester City have conceded fewer in the Champions League. Their one concession ranks marginally better than Bayern's two, with the Germans keeping four clean sheets out of five thus far. Captain Manuel Neuer has set the tone in that regard, with understudy Sven Ulreich also impressing in his place, while Bayern's defence also contains a man with inside knowledge of Wednesday's opponents. Matthijs de Ligt previously collected two clean sheets and four wins from seven appearances for Juventus against Inter during his spell in Serie A, and he added another shutout - and victory - to that list when Bayern got their European campaign up and running with a convincing win over Inter on Matchday 1.

Matthijs de Ligt (r.) has brought extra stability to Bayern's defence and has previous against Inter. - IMAGO/ULMER/IMAGO/ULMER Pressebildagentur

4) Bayern's blistering start

Bayern made a record-breaking start to this season and, despite a slight blip of three draws and a defeat in four league games across Bundesliga Matchdays 4-7, they have been rampant in recent weeks and particularly so in Europe. Five wins from five means Bayern have won each of their last 12 Champions League group matches - including all 11 under Nagelsmann - and top spot in Group C is already secured.

The secret to this uptick in their own remarkable output? “The way we train – it’s a high, high, high level,” Mane explained earlier in the season. “The intensity we put in the training – everything we do with intensity and I think it pays off because we work very hard in training. I think we have a very, very good coach and the ideas he has are just incredible, so it’s very difficult for the other team to cope with us.” The coach added himself: “The energy that’s in the team at the moment, the atmosphere within in the squad, everyone is pulling for each other... And it’s very, very enjoyable.”

Watch: Bayern put six past Mainz on Saturday

5) Group stage kings

Bayern are already guaranteed to finish top of Group C given their five-point advantage over Inter, this being the fifth straight season they have gone through to the knockout rounds as section winners.

Not only that, but the Reds are currently on a 33-game unbeaten streak (with 30 victories) in Champions League group stage games, which is the longest such sequence in the competition’s history. The last time they tasted defeat in this first phase was back in the 2017/18 season in a 3-0 reverse at Paris Saint-Germain.

And you have to go even further back for their last group-stage loss on home turf: a 3-2 lost at home to Manchester City on Matchday 6 of the 2013/14 campaign – with top spot already wrapped up by then. In short, Inter, you can try to win – but you’re probably not going to.