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Champions League final: Man City vs Inter – what to look out for

UEFA.com guides you through the key plotlines as Man City and Inter face off in the 2023 UEFA Champions League final.

Will Manchester City or Inter emerge triumphant in Istanbul on 10 June?
Will Manchester City or Inter emerge triumphant in Istanbul on 10 June?

A return to the scene of one of the all-time classic finals, an emotional reunion and a possible redemption story – just some of the key plotlines as Manchester City and Inter lock horns in the 2023 UEFA Champions League showpiece.

Presented by Turkish Airlines, UEFA.com guides you through the main talking points ahead of the decider at Istanbul's Atatürk Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

First Istanbul final since 2005 classic

The last final to be held in Istanbul still defies belief 18 years on. On an evening of extraordinary drama, Rafa Benítez's Liverpool staged a remarkable comeback from three goals down to beat Carlo Ancelotti's Milan on penalties and claim a fifth Champions League crown.

Though his 2004/05 campaign was curtailed by injury, current Inter coach Simone Inzaghi's brother – Filippo – was in Istanbul to watch his colleagues surrender their three-goal advantage. "A six-minute blackout in the second half cost us the trophy," he later said. "I couldn't help my team-mates avoid defeat that night – that was frustrating." Having guided Inter past their city rivals in the semis, Simone now has the opportunity to create happier memories of the Turkish capital for the Inzaghi family.

That was also the first competitive fixture between Liverpool and AC Milan, as is the case for Man City and Inter this year – the first time in the 18 years since two sides have met for the first time in the Champions League final.

2005 Istanbul Champions League final highlights: Milan 3-3 Liverpool (2-3 pens)

Pep and Co out to banish demons

In the aftermath of City's semi-final triumph against Madrid, boss Pep Guardiola spoke of the "year of pain" his players have had to endure since losing to Ancelotti's side at the same stage 12 months ago. The Cityzens will be seeking similar redemption in their first final appearance since an agonising defeat to Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea at the Estádio do Dragão in 2021.

Guardiola – who lost to Inter in the 2009/10 semi-finals – is looking to end a 12-year wait to claim a third Champions League crown, having triumphed twice while at Barcelona, in 2008/09 and again in 2010/11. He would become only the fourth manager to lift the trophy on three or more occasions, after Ancelotti, former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley and ex-Madrid coach Zinédine Zidane.

2021 final highlights: Man. City 0-1 Chelsea

Džeko's emotional reunion

The 2023 showpiece will be a particularly emotional occasion for Edin Džeko, who registered 72 goals in 189 appearances for City between 2011 and 2016. Part of the City side that ended a 44-year wait for a top-flight title in 2012, the veteran forward is set to face his former club for the first time in the Turkish capital – seven and a half years after departing for Serie A.

The 37-year-old's fourth Champions League goal of the current campaign laid the foundation for Inter's 3-0 aggregate victory over rivals Milan in the semi-finals. Another against Guardiola's side would make the Bosnia and Herzegovina striker the oldest scorer in Champions League final history, surpassing Paolo Maldini, who was 36 years and 333 days old when he opened the scoring at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in 2005.

Highlights: Milan 0-2 Inter

First-time kings of Europe?

Victory for City would make them the 23rd club to win the European Cup. The Cityzens have come close on several occasions in recent years but have never gone the distance, reaching four semi-finals (2015/16, 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23) and one final (2020/21).

Three-time winners Inter last lifted the trophy in 2010, when José Mourinho's team ended a 45-year wait for Europe's top prize by beating Bayern in Madrid. The Nerazurri's previous triumphs came under Helenio Herrera in 1964 and 1965, meaning Inzaghi could become the first Italian coach to lead Inter to European glory.

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Where is the 2023 Champions League final?

UEFA via Getty Images

Istanbul's Atatürk Olympic Stadium will host the final on Saturday 10 June 2023. Man City will be the designated home team against Inter.

The winners gain a place in the 2023/24 Champions League group stage, if they have not qualified via their domestic competition.

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