Inter are one of the biggest underdogs in recent UCL final history with Man City as heavy favorites
It's time to award the biggest prize in all of club soccer. This Saturday, it's a showdown between Manchester City and Inter in Istanbul in the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League final. Don't miss any of the action on CBS and Paramount+. City are the big-time favorites, and making their second final appearance ever after losing to Chelsea in 2021. Meanwhile, Inter are back in the big game for the first time since 2010, and sixth time overall, aiming to take home their fourth European crown. They last did it 13 years ago when one Jose Mourinho led a squad with the likes of Javier Zanetti and Diego Milito to the summit of European soccer.
PredictionsJames Benge: City have the quality and surety to assert themselves from the off, and for all Inter's midfield qualities, it is impossible to see this being anything other than a game where Guardiola's side dominate the ball. In those circumstances, an early goal could lead to quite an underwhelming final with City trusting a defense that is one of the best this competition has ever seen to grind their way to a convincing and controlled victory. Pick: Manchester City 2, Inter 0
Here's everything to know, including our expert picks:Saturday's broadcast schedule12 p.m.: Morning Footy - UCL Edition (CBS Sports Golazo Network)1:30 p.m.: UEFA Champions League Today Pre-Match Show (CBS/Paramount+)3 p.m.: Manchester City vs. Inter Milan (CBS/Paramount+)5:30 p.m.: UEFA Champions League Today Post-Match Show (CBS/Paramount+) 6:30 p.m.: The Champions Club (CBS Sports Golazo Network)
Manchester CityBy James Benge
One player to watch: You may have heard of Erling Haaland. He is very good at scoring goals and it says everything about the Herculean standards he has set this season that his current four-game streak without a goal is the driest patch of his first season in English football. The Norwegian arrived at City a pure scorer but over the last few months, he has added new qualities to his game, particularly interlinking with the rest of the front line. Regardless it is putting the ball in the net that makes him one of the world's best footballers. If Inter make even half a mistake it will be punished.
Underrated X-factor: Such has been City's dominance over the last few months that it rather feels as if every player has had a moment to get their flowers. If you were looking for a possible exception it might come in the form of Kyle Walker, whose explosive pace is one of the great enabling factors of the extremely high defensive line that Pep Guardiola deploys. Inter will look to find Lautaro Martinez in space in behind but Walker has shown against Vinicius Junior and Kylian Mbappe that he can slow even the deadliest forwards.
Biggest reason they'll win: Player for player, City are inarguably superior to the opposition. They also have the better coach, more experience at this stage of the Champions League and even though Inter's attacking options are impressive, there are few players you'd rather turn to if the game is going against you than Riyad Mahrez, Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden. The biggest reason they'll win then? Because they are the better team.
Biggest reason they'll lose: The suggestion that Guardiola is his own worst enemy in the Champions League has somewhat been overplayed; the sport has done a very good job of remembering the tactical tweaks that have gone wrong at City and Bayern Munich while expunging from their collective memory the times he got it right. Having said that, the losses to Lyon and Chelsea did happen and it is eminently plausible that Guardiola will try something different given he has had a week to mull this all over. It could be what wins them the game or it could cost them dearly.
InterBy Francesco Porzio
One player to watch: It's the year of Lautaro Martinez. The Argentinian has already won the 2022 World Cup this season and was a crucial player during the whole Champions League campaign with his club. In fact, Lautaro scored the deciding goal in the group stage at the Camp Nou against Barcelona and then the deciding goal in the second leg of the semifinals against AC Milan. It's his time.
Underrated X-factor: Simone Inzaghi showed that his choices can make the difference. Players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Romelu Lukaku, who are expected to start on the bench, can become crucial in the second half. The Belgian striker became fundamental during the second part of the season when he came off the bench and scored goals against Porto and Benfica this season.
Biggest reason they'll win: Inter are the underdog of the final, since the Nerazzurri are definitely not at the level of Manchester City. This might be the best news for Inzaghi's men as they won't be forced to take the game to the Citizens and Pep Guardiola, and they will have less pressure to lift the trophy on Saturday. They've got nothing to lose.
Biggest reason they'll lose: Well, we all know that City are a better and stronger side. From a technical point of view there is no way Inter can compete and this year Guardiola's team can also count on Erling Haaland, one of the best strikers in the world.