UEFA Champions League Match of the Week- Barcelona vs Inter Milan

Wednesday's Champions League schedule is highlighted by a clash between Inter Milan and Barcelona. At home, Barcelona has a money line of -178 compared to Inter Milan at +418. Meanwhile, a draw is set at +322.

Inter Milan opened up Champions League play last month with a disappointing home draw against Slavia Prague, which is a match that should have yielded three points for the Italian side. However, Inter responded to that result with a string of wins in Serie A, knocking off AC Milan, Lazio, and Sampdoria. They have won all six league games this season and are now hoping to turn those domestic results into European success.

It's been a different story for Barcelona, who currently sits fourth place in La Liga. The Spanish giants went through a mini-slump last month, settling for a scoreless draw against Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League opener and then falling 2-0 to Granada in league play. On the bright side, Barcelona appears to be back on track with wins over Villareal and Getafe the last two weeks.

Missing More than Messi

The biggest story leading up to this game is the status of Lionel Messi, who is likely to miss the game due to injury. Unfortunately for the Catalans, he's not the only one. Key players like Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti, Ansu Fati, and Ousmane Dembele will also be sitting out. There's no sugar-coating the fact that the absences of a handful of key players, including the best player on the planet, will have an impact on Barcelona.

The silver lining is that there is plenty of class left in the Barcelona side. The trick is just having it show up more than it has this season. The biggest key is Luis Suarez, who scored a goal over the weekend and needs to step up with more goals in Messi's absence. Barcelona newcomers Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong also need to make their presence known. Griezmann is coming along with three goals and two assists this season, but de Jong has been a little sluggish early in his Barcelona career.

Conte's Challenge

The tactics of Inter manager Antonio Conte could be troublesome for Barcelona, especially without Messi to serve as the maestro in the midfield. Inter will have no shame in playing a defensive game, which has worked out thus far with the club only conceding two goals in six Seria A games. They will play with three center backs and try to clog up the midfield to make life difficult for Griezmann and de Jong.

Perhaps more importantly, Inter has limited health concerns and was able to rest players over the weekend, so they should be fresh. Of course, if they want to steal three points at Camp Nou, it could be up to Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, who has made an immediate impact at his new club with three goals in six matches. He's Inter's best chance at a match-winner on Wednesday.

Looking at History

It's been over six years and 32 matches since Barcelona last lost a Champions League game at Camp Nou. Only three teams have managed a draw against the Spanish giants during that time, so taking Inter Milan in this game means going against all of that history. Even if everything isn't perfect at Barcelona right now, bet on them finding a way to win on Wednesday.