After almost three months without regular football action, European leagues are returning to empty stadiums to finish the 2019/20 season disrupted by COVID-19.
Spain’s La Liga kicked off on Thursday while in Italy, the football season is restarting with the second leg of the Coppa Italia.
Juventus v AC Milan @Allianz Stadium @8pm on June 12
This is the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final, in which the first leg ended 1-1 on February 13.
Milan’s manager, Stefano Pioli, has said both teams will start on the same footing, and with the Allianz Stadium bare of fans, he could be right though his side will be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Theo Hernandez, and Samu Castillejo. Pioli says, “We’ve faced Juventus twice this season, it was difficult for them and for us on both occasions.”
His Juve counterpart, Maurizio Sarri, agrees—“AC Milan has always created problems for us this year, the result of the first leg does not guarantee us anything, so it will be a very open game.”
We all then agree that it should be a closely fought encounter.
Current Form: Juventus [W-L-W-W-D]; AC Milan [L-D-W-D-L]
Head to head
13/02/20 COI AC Milan 1 – 1 Juventus
10/11/19 SEA Juventus 1 – 0 AC Milan
06/04/19 SEA Juventus 2 – 1 AC Milan
16/01/19 SUC Juventus 1 – 0 AC Milan
11/11/18 SEA AC Milan 0 – 2 Juventus
Prediction: Juventus 2-1 AC Milan
Bayern Munich v Borussia M’gladbach @Allianz Arena @5:30pm on June 13
There is no stopping Bayern at the moment. The last time they lost a match was on January 11, 2020, away to Nurnberg.
The record-winning Bundesliga champions have lost four league matches all season and one of those losses was to Monchengladbach last December, but they are blitzing their way through supposed challengers.
But the absence of Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski could hinder Hansi Flick’s team after the two got shown yellow cards away to Bayer Leverkusen.
Jerome Boateng and Serge Gnabry are also struggling with some fitness issues, which leaves the door wide open for an upset, although Monchengladbach have worries of their own.
Alassane Plea is suspended after being sent off against Freiburg while Breel Embolo and Tobias Strobl are struggling to be fit.
Current Form: Bayern Munich [W-W-W-W-W]; Borussia M’gladbach [L-W-D-L-W]
Head to head
07/12/19 BUN Borussia M’gladbach 2 – 1 Bayern Munich
02/03/19 BUN Borussia M’gladbach 1 – 5 Bayern Munich
06/10/18 BUN Bayern Munich 0 – 3 Borussia M’gladbach
14/04/18 BUN Bayern Munich 5 – 1 Borussia M’gladbach
25/11/17 BUN Borussia M’gladbach 2 – 1 Bayern Munich
Prediction: Bayern Munich 4 -1 Borussia M’gladbach
Napoli v Inter Milan @Stadio San Paolo @8pm on June 13
Gennaro Gattuso’s men have a 1-0 first leg lead from the San Siro as Antonio Conte’s Inter floundered – both in the league and in the Coppa but three months’ rest should have recharged the batteries of Conte’s men to make it a resounding contest at the San Paolo.
The COVID-19 pause came at the worst possible time for the Partenopei as they were on a five-match unbeaten run that has seen them rise to sixth on the table.
Nikola Maksimovic will deputise for the injured Kostas Manolas while Diego Godin and Matias Vecino will miss out for Inter.
Current Form: Napoli [W-D-W-W-W]; Inter Milan [L-W-D-L-W]
Head to head
12/02/20 COI Inter Milan 0 – 1 Napoli
06/01/20 SEA Napoli 1 – 3 Inter Milan
19/05/19 SEA Napoli 4 – 1 Inter Milan
26/12/18 SEA Inter Milan 1 – 0 Napoli
11/03/18 SEA Inter Milan 0 – 0 Napoli
Prediction: Napoli 1-3 Inter Milan
Mallorca v Barcelona @Iberostar Estadi @9pm on June 13
Barcelona kickstart their quest for the La Liga title away to 18th-placed Mallorca, and traditionally the islanders get roasted by Lionel Messi and company.
But Mallorca desperately need points, which could see more fight from the home team, though they will have to carry that vigour without their 12th man–their passionate fans.
In their last five meetings, Barcelona have scored 21 goals, conceding only four. So, it should be normal resuming for Barcelona with the return of Luis Suarez to the starting 11 after attaining full fitness.
Current Form: Mallorca [W-L-D-W-L]; Barcelona [W-L-D-W-W]
Head to head
07/12/19 LAL Barcelona 5 – 2 Mallorca
06/04/13 LAL Barcelona 5 – 0 Mallorca
11/11/12 LAL Mallorca 2 – 4 Barcelona
24/03/12 LAL Mallorca 0 – 2 Barcelona
29/10/11 LAL Barcelona 5 – 0 Mallorca
Prediction: Mallorca 1- 4 Barcelona