Internazionale v Barcelona
Alvaro Recoba and Ivan Cordoba (both suspended) for tonight’s vital Group A match against Barcellona.
Defender Marco Materazzi has a muscle strain and is unlikely to be fit so Paraguayan Carlos Alberto Gamarra will partner Fabio Cannavaro in central defence.
Midfielder Buruk Okan is a slight concner but should be fit to play. Injuries and suspensions restrict Cuper’s options up front, meanning Sierra Leone striker Mohammed Kallon will partner Christian Vieri.
A week ago Inter were beaten 3-0 in Barcelona, but Cuper is expetcting his team to bounce back tonight.
“We played badly in Barcelona and that is a source of motivation,” Cuper said. “This will be a different game.”
Barcelona will be without injured Dutch winger Marc Overmars as they attempt to set a new record of 12 consecutive victories in Europe.
Fabio Rochemback comes in for Overmars, with Gabri replacing Juan Pablo Sorin, the Argentine full back being ineligible.
Despite their impressive record in this season’s competition, Barcelona captain Carlos Puyol has warned against complacency.
“If we go there looking for a draw, we will probably lose,” said Puyol. “Inter will want to show that last week was a one-off,” he said.
A draw should be enough to ensure that both teams remain in the pole position to reach the last eight.
Inter (from): Francesco Toldo; Javier Zanetti, Carlos Alberto Gamarra, Fabio Cannavaro, Francesco Coco; Buruk Okan, Cristiano Zanetti, Luigi Di Biagio (or Stephane Dalmat), Domenico Morfeo; Christian Vieri, Mohammed Kallon.
(from): Roberto Bonano; Gabri, Carles Puyol, Frank de Boer, Michael Reiziger; Fabio Rochemback, Philip Cocu, Xavi, Thiago Motta; Javier Saviola, Patrick Kluivert
Newcastle v Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen to St James’ Park in a game Newcastle must win if they are to entertain hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the competition.
Last week’s 3-1 win over Leverkusen maintained Newcatle’s interest in the competiition and a repeat performance is vital tonght.
“Winning last week has given us a lifeline but if we don’t win tomorrow night our chance to progress goes,” Robson admitted.
“Three points from four games would not be enough with the two leading teams to come.”
Captain Alan Shearer will return to the side alongside Shola Ameobi after completing a two-match Champions League suspension.
Jermaine Jenas (Achilles) and Nolberto Solano (thigh) are both injured, so Brian Kerr will come in on the right side midfield. French defender Olivier Bernard will regain hisplace at left back at the expense of Andy Griffin.
Bayer Leverkusen, who sacked coach Klaus Toppmoller ten days ago, replacing him with Thomas Hoerster, are all but out of the competition and have opted to concentrate on their struggle to avoid relegation from the German Bundesliga.
Jens Nowotny (knee), Bernd Schneider (flu), Dimitar Bebatov (thigh), Juan (knee) and Daniel Bierofka (rib) are all missing. On top of that midfielder Hanno Balitsch in suspended.
Newcastle (from): Shay Given; Aaron Hughes, Titus Bramble, Andy O’Brien, Olivier Bernard; Brian Kerr, Kieron Dyer, Gary Speed, Laurent Robert; Alan Shearer, Shola Ameobi
Leverkusen (from): Hans-Joerg Butt; Boris Zivkovic, Radoslav Kaluzny, Thomas Kleine, Diego Placente; Oliver Neuville, Carsten Ramelow, Yildiray Basturk, Jan Simak, Marko Babic; Franca