Inter faces Twente in Champions League
Inter Milan launches the defense of its Champions League title on Tuesday against an FC Twente team making its debut in the continent's top club competition.
Inter has struggled for form this season with just one win from three matches - a 2-1 victory against Udinese last weekend courtesy of goals from Samuel Eto'o and Wesley Sneijder.
The Italian side, which also won Serie A and the Italian Cup last season, was beaten 2-0 by Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup and held to a goalless draw by Bologna in its league opener.
"You can see that the play is evolving, it just takes some time for the squad to get going," Inter president Massimo Moratti said. "The important thing is to be absolutely focused in the match tomorrow night. It will definitely not be easy."
Inter coach Rafael Benitez will be without the suspended Thiago Motta and injured David Suazo and Dejan Stankovic. Maicon and Cristian Chivu were selected despite Maicon being yet to play this year after a knee injury and Chivu being hurt against Udinese.
Twente surprised by winning its first league title last year to qualify for the Champions League. But the team lost coach Steve McClaren, who moved to Wolfsburg in the offseason.
Twente beat VVV Venlo 2-1 on Saturday, leaving it third in the Dutch league after five matches, behind PSV and Ajax.
"Everyone is fit and I find that very important at this crucial phase," Twente coach Michel Preud'homme said, adding that playing in the Champions League will be "a good experience and maybe we can spring a surprise."
Werder Bremen hosts Tottenham in the other Group A match.
Since reaching the group stage of the Champions League for the first time, Tottenham's form has dipped, picking up one point from two Premier League games it was expected to win. A 1-0 home loss to then-bottom Wigan was followed by a 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion, leaving Spurs in the bottom half of the standings.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp also has a lengthy injury list to contend with, although playmaker Luka Modric will travel to Bremen after scans showed that the leg injury he picked up against West Brom was not as serious as first feared.
Redknapp, however, is without striker Jermain Defoe and center backs Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson. Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is also in doubt after missing the last match with a groin problem.
Bremen, which secured its place in the group phase with a nail-biting victory over Sampdoria last month, is confident following a 0-0 draw on Saturday at German champion Bayern Munich despite some key players missing to injury.
"If we can do it against Bayern with these players, then we also can against other teams," Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said. "We must be courageous and look for our chances."
Bremen will again be without injured central defenders Naldo and Per Mertesacker. Petri Pasanen and Sebastian Proedl will take their place after doing a good job in Munich. Striker Claudio Pizarro also is set to miss the match with a hamstring injury.