Two terrible defenses gave onlookers an exciting half of football, one that played against Leonardo's approach. Setting-up his team to absorb attacks and counter, the Inter Milan coach has been undone by a poor evening from central defenders Lucio and Andrea Ranocchia, with an error by Júlio César compounding problems. Despite an early goal from Samuel Eto'o that pulled his team even, Leonardo finds his team own two goals going into halftime, with Mario Gómez and Thomas Müller staking the hosts to a 3-1 lead.
The scoreline is no less than the Germans deserve, having gone close toward half-time through Frank Ribéry and Müller. Saves by César and Ranocchia have given Nerazzurri supporters hope of resuscitation, though with little to recommend the holders for a halftime comeback, we may be looking at the last 45 minutes of Italy's European campaign.
After three minutes, Inter looked set to vigorously defend their title. A through ball from Goran Pandev and some reticence on the part of the linesman to flag Samuel Eto'o for offside gave the Cameroonian license to make the tie 1-1. In the 22nd minute, however, Inter unintentional enacted a piece of social justice, with Júlio César's mishandling of some Arjen Robben speculation leading to a Mario Gómez goal. Eight minutes later, Robben and Müller combined to give the young German a 30th minute goal and give FCB a commanding 3-1 lead.
Looking to the Inter bench, there's scarce attacking talent ready to help. Coutinho could be brought in for Thiago Motta. Yuto Nagatomo could come in a left back for Cristian Chivu. But with Diego Milito out and Giampaolo Pazzini cut-tied, Leonardo is short on options.
On the other bench, Louis van Gaal has various ways he can sure-up his defense. Holger Badstuber was a surprise omission from the starting XI, while Anatoliy Tymoschuk could help in central defense or midfield.