Inter Milan face an uphill battle to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals after losing 1-0 in Marseille, but their recent resurgence could give the Italians enough confidence to make it through to the next round. Three weeks ago, Inter were mired in an abysmal slump. The team went the whole of February without scoring, and the last minute loss at the Stade Velodrome was just another loss in an awful month.
Since then, the tides have turned. A 2-0 deficit against Catania at the San Siro was turned into a draw, breaking Inter's long scoreless streak, and a tricky away fixture at Chievo Verona ended up with the Nerazzurri earning all three points. If their newly acquired ability to not be completely and utterly terrible at football persists, they have every chance of advancing.
The fact that Inter's curse appears to have spread to their opponents won't hurt the hosts' cause either.
Following their match against Inter, Marseille's record looks like this:
Brest 1-0 Marseille
Marseille 0-1 Toulouse
Evian 2-0 Marseille
Evian 2-0 Marseille
AC Ajaccio 1-0 Marseille
In those four matches, Marseille have shot seventy times, obviously scoring nonce. Thanks to this spell of poor form (or poor luck, perhaps), they're now in eighth place in Ligue Un, eight points adrift of the Champions League places. Can they turn it around with a result at Inter? There's no real reason why not - those shot totals do indicate that Marseille have been more unlucky than bad, and Loic Remy's return to action will hearten the French side.
All signs point to this clash as being one of two things - a boring affair in which one team will edge the match simply by being less awful than the other or a Champions League classic that nobody expected. If we all plan on the former, maybe the second option will pop up and surprise us.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, March 13, 3:45 p.m. ET, 8:45 p.m. local
Venue: San Siro, Milan, Italy
TV: FOX Soccer Channel (USA), Sportsnet World (Canada), Sky Sports 4 (UK)
Projected Olympique Marseille Lineup (4-2-3-1): Steve Mandanda; Jeremy Morel, Nicolas N'Koulou, Souleymane Diawara; Cesar Azpilicueta; Alou Diarra, Benoit Cheyrou; Andre Ayew, Mathieu Valbuena, Morgan Amalfitano; Loic Remy