FC Internazionale Milano began Group G with a surprise defeat at Fenerbahçe SK but three successive victories have put them in pole position to progress.
FC Internazionale Milano began the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League with a surprise defeat away to Fenerbahçe SK. However, three successive victories have put them in pole position and they now have the opportunity to clinch a qualification berth should they win this return against the Turkish champions who are themselves closing in on the last 16.
• Yet after half an hour of the games on Matchday 4 it seemed that it would be Fenerbahçe and not Inter who would be holding the whip hand when the two Group G principals met for the second time. That was because Inter were trailing 2-0 to PFC CSKA Moskva at San Siro, while in Istanbul Fenerbahçe held a lead by the same score at home to PSV Eindhoven.
• However in Milan the well-worked goals from Jô and Vágner Love were quickly cancelled out and the men who led the Italian side's comeback, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Esteban Cambiasso, both then went on to score a second goal apiece to seal a 4-2 win. It left Roberto Mancini's team with a point advantage over Fenerbahçe and a five-point lead over PSV.
• Before the game between the teams on 19 September Inter, winners of the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1964 and 1965, had never previously met a Turkish side in the UEFA Champions League. It turned out to be a disappointing first encounter for the Nerazzurri as Deivid's goal got Zico's team off to a flying start.
• Inter, who have reached the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League in four of the last five seasons, have been involved in six UEFA Cup fixtures against Turkish opponents and in the three home games they have emerged victorious each time. They beat Adanaspor AS 4-1 in 1981/82, Trabzonspor 2-0 two years later and Beşiktaş JK 3-1 in 1987/88. All those matches came in the first round of the competition.
• Two wins and two draws have put Fenerbahçe within sight of a first-ever place in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds. Their victory three weeks ago, secured by PSV defender Dirk Marcellis' own goal and a swift second from Semih Şentürk, left Zico's team four points clear of PSV. With a home game to come against CSKA, who currently lie at the foot of the section with no hope of progressing in the competition, they have high hopes of maintaining their lead over the Dutch club to the end of the group phase.
• In their fifth UEFA Champions League campaign the Istanbul club are seeking to do better than their previous best group finish of third in both 1996/97 and 2004/05. They have visited Italy on five occasions in UEFA club competition and lost each time. Their last away game was at San Siro in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League when Inter's city rivals AC Milan beat them 3-1. The defeats have always come with at least a two-goal margin.
• It was also 3-1 when Fenerbahçe visited Parma FC in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup first round and 2-0 away to Juventus in the 1996/97 UEFA Champions League. Earlier, a 4-1 loss came away to Atalanta BC in the 1984/95 UEFA Cup first round and a 2-0 defeat at the home of ACF Fiorentina in the second round of the same competition six years later.