Champions League final: Man City vs. Inter predictions and preview

Can Guardiola’s team finally win the Champions League and complete a historic treble?

The 2023 Champions League final will be held in Istanbul
The 2023 Champions League final will be held in Istanbul
(Image credit: Illustrated/Getty Images)

Two trophies down, one to go. After winning this season’s Premier League title and FA Cup, Manchester City will head to Istanbul for tomorrow night’s Uefa Champions League final looking to complete the treble. Standing in their way at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium are Italian side Inter, who have won the Champions League three times in their history.

If Pep Guardiola’s men finally claim European club football’s biggest prize they will match the achievement of rivals Manchester United, who in 1999 became the first and only English club to have won the Premier League-FA Cup-Champions League treble. Should the dream become a reality for City, their status as one of the best sides in history will at that point be beyond dispute.

City secured their place in the final after beating holders Real Madrid 5-1 on aggregate in the two-legged semi-final. Inter defeated city rivals AC Milan 3-0 on aggregate to progress to the Istanbul showpiece.

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Man City boss Pep Guardiola

Man City boss Pep Guardiola
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The ‘Holy Grail’ for City

The Citizens have “dominated” English football under Guardiola, but the European Cup has “continued to elude them”, said Joe Brophy on talkSPORT. They will make “one last push for glory” in Istanbul and “few will bet against them finally claiming their Holy Grail”, said Phil McNulty on BBC Sport. The “big question” is do the Nerazzurri have enough to stop City emulating United’s treble of 1999?

Since the Abu Dhabi United Investment Group acquired Man City in 2008, the club has been “transformed” from “mid-table mediocracy” to a “global footballing powerhouse”, said Felix Richter on Statista. However, City’s success has “always been eyed with suspicion”, as it “wouldn’t have been possible without the financial muscle of its Emirati owners”. The success has also come at a “high price”. Despite a net transfer spend of a “whopping” €1.45bn since 2008, the club has only reached one Champions League final – in 2021 where they lost 1-0 to Premier League rivals Chelsea.

City will go to Istanbul as big favourites to win the game. But until they actually get their hands on the trophy can they be ranked as a giant of European football. Speaking after the FA Cup final, Guardiola admitted that “now is the first time we can talk about the treble”. He said: “We have done incredible, five Premier Leagues, two FA Cups and Carabaos but we have to win the Champions League to be recognised how the team deserves to be. It has been amazing, been fun, but we have to win it.” City’s Spanish midfielder Rodri added: “I think Pep said that you will not be ‘big, big’ if you don’t win in Europe. It’s the exam we have to pass.”

Champions League final key details

  • Who: Manchester City (Eng) vs. Inter (Ita)
  • When: Saturday 10 June 2023
  • Where: Atatürk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Time: 8pm kick-off (BST)
  • Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)

Live TV and radio coverage

The Champions League final will kick-off at 8pm (BST) on Saturday 10 June. In the UK, BT Sport will show exclusive live coverage on its 1HD and Ultimate channels and the broadcaster will also show the match free-to-air via its mobile and TV app, online at, on Virgin and its YouTube channel. BT Sport’s build-up to the final will begin at 6pm. BBC Radio 5 Live Sport will have live radio commentary from the Atatürk Olympic Stadium.

Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey

Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul
(Image credit: Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The stadium

This is the second Champions League final to be played at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium. Located in the Başakşehir area of Istanbul, west of the Bosphorus, the stadium boasts a seated capacity of more than 75,000. The Atatürk previously hosted the classic final between Liverpool and AC Milan in 2005. Dubbed the “miracle of Istanbul”, Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 3-3 before going on to lift the trophy after a penalty shoot-out.

Pundit predictions

According to FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) ratings, City have a 75% chance of winning the final compared to Inter’s 25%. “Ultimately”, however, the final “isn’t a lock” for City by any means even if they are the favourites, said Paul Kasabian on Bleacher Report. Inter could come out and “play the game of their lives”, or City could “struggle mightily”. Anything can happen in a single match. On paper, the guess is that City will win “comfortably” as they are “simply too good everywhere on the pitch”. The pick is for City to win 3-1, said Kasabian.

“Everything – literally everything – is pointing towards a Manchester City win here,” said Opta Analyst. The “only hope” for Inter is that their opponents “aren’t quite at their best, and get some key decisions wrong when the ball is in dangerous areas of the pitch”. The Opta “supercomputer” gives City a “64.6% probability” of winning in 90 minutes, compared to “just 16.4%” for Inter. Overall on the night, City are given a 74.1% chance of lifting the trophy. “It will take something special for Inter to deny City the treble they are chasing.”

Will City make up for their loss in the final two years ago and “finally become champions of Europe”, or will Inter “beat the odds” and claim the continental crown for the fourth time in their history, asked ESPN. City “will win”, and “relatively comfortably”, 3-0, said Rob Dawson. There’s “no pretending” that City are “anything but overwhelming favourites”, said Gab Marcotti. “So I’m going for a 2-0 City win.” No way City are letting this one go, said Julien Laurens. Expect a “tough game against a low Inter block”, but a “moment of magic” from Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland or Bernardo Silva will “win it 1-0 for City”.

Guardiola’s team will “surely never have a better chance” of winning the Champions League, and in turn a famous treble, said Alex Young in the London Evening Standard. “That is not to say that Inter are pushovers.” Guardiola “infamously tinkered too much” when City lost to Chelsea in the final two years ago, “so there is always that danger”. But you would think “any selection should overpower Inter” tomorrow night. “Man City to win 2-0.”

I would back Manchester City, but I’ve seen this “too many times” in the past – “people expected them to turn up against Chelsea two years ago”, said Paul Merson on SportsKeeda. Inter “absolutely demolished” AC in the derby and “if they pull off a similar start”, they “have a chance”. The “only thing that could trip City up is nerves”. Merson predicts a 3-1 win for the English club.

It’s not just the pundits and data experts who have had their say on Saturday’s final – but also players from rival clubs. At last weekend’s Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold both “revealed their predictions”, The Sun reported. Mbappe believes the final will be a “great game” and he thinks that City “are going to win”. Alexander-Arnold “appeared to agree” and told Sky Sports: “I think Man City are always the favourites for everything!”

Erling Haaland has scored 42 goals so far this season for Man City

Erling Haaland has scored 52 goals so far this season for Man City
(Image credit: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Betting odds

According to Oddschecker, City are the heavy favourites to lift the Champions League trophy tomorrow night. The English side are priced at 10/21 to win, Inter are 13/2 and the draw is 4/1. With 52 goals in his debut season at City, including 12 in the Champions League, Erling Haaland is priced at 12/5 to score the first goal in the final. The prolific Norwegian striker is also 14/1 to net a hat-trick. All prices as of 9 June.

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Mike Starling is the digital features editor at The Week, where he writes content and edits the Arts & Life and Sport website sections and the Food & Drink and Travel newsletters. He started his career in 2001 in Gloucestershire as a sports reporter and sub-editor and has held various roles as a writer and editor at news, travel and B2B publications. He has spoken at a number of sports business conferences and also worked as a consultant creating sports travel content for tourism boards. International experience includes spells living and working in Dubai, UAE; Brisbane, Australia; and Beirut, Lebanon.