Kevin De Bruyne out, doubts about base place Romelu Lukaku: will we not see a single Belgian in the Champions League tonight?
21 de February, 2023
Manchester City and Inter will play important first legs in the Champions League against RB Leipzig and Porto tonight. It is quite possible that instead of two Belgians we do not see a single Belgian at work. Kevin De Bruyne is ill, Romelu Lukaku is not sure of a starting place.
It was a shock at Manchester City. De Bruyne did not appear at training the day before the trip to Leipzig. “Kevin is sick,” City coach Pep Guardiola explained. “He wasn’t feeling well on Saturday after the match against Nottingham Forest (1-1). It was also a problem on Monday. Laporte is also ill. That just happens in a season.” At Nottingham, De Bruyne was replaced two minutes before the end.
Thibaut Courtois played with Real Madrid in Liverpool, but there is doubt about the third star player of the Red Devils. That is the big question at Inter in the run-up to the match against Porto: who will start next to Lautaro Martinez in the rush hour? Lukaku scored against Udinese on Saturday on his second attempt from the penalty spot: his first goal since mid-August this season. Is this enough for Inter coach Simone Inzaghi to give our compatriot a starting place against Porto? There are doubts. Big Rom his competitor as second striker next to Martinez is Edin Dzeko, the now 36-year-old Bosnian who replaced the unfortunate Lukaku in the many games he had to miss due to injuries.
“It is one of my doubts,” Inzaghi said at the press conference yesterday. “I choose the best, for the well-being of Inter. Lukaku is doing very well and he is on the right track physically. He works hard. If it doesn’t start, it can also be useful because spaces are freed up in the last minutes that weren’t there before. “
Dzeko, who played in the striker side of Lukaku on Sunday because Martinez was rested, turned out to be a golden substitute in that period. Especially in the group stage of the Champions League, where Inter finished behind Bayern Munich but ahead of Barcelona and thus qualified for the second round. Dzeko scored three times and provided one assist. However, he has not been doing as well in recent weeks and that opens up prospects for Lukaku.
Lukaku is not quite where he needs to be yet, but his form curve is going up. Inzaghi gives the 29-year-old Red Devil respite after an unhappy season in which he struggled from one hamstring injury to another knee injury. The question is, however, whether the Inter coach will simply leave his Bosnian top scorer in the Champions League aside. In addition, Lukaku’s collaboration with Martinez is not yet as it was in the first season.