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Champions League final: Five key battles including Erling Haaland v Francesco Acerbi

Manchester City and Inter Milan have reached the Champions League final thanks in large part to their teamwork and tactical ability, but both rely on individuals to win personal duals and the outcome of these mini-battles could have a major impact on who lifts the trophy in Istanbul.

There will be a clash of styles and formations with City setting up in a very offensive 3-2-4-1 shape and Inter deploying a 3-5-2 structure which could frequently morph into a 5-3-2. 

But certain players will come into regular contact with each other in key areas of the pitch and it will be fascinating to see which ones come out on top.

WhatManchester City v Inter Milan 
WhereAtaturk Stadium, Istanbul
When20:00, Saturday 10th June
How to watchBT Sport 1, Ultimate and YouTube
OddsMan City 9/20, Draw 15/4, Inter Milan 11/2

Erling Haaland v Francesco Acerbi

Erling Haaland's phenomenal first season at City has seen him break numerous records but he will be as hungry as ever to make an impact in the Champions League final and is going to take some stopping. 

Francesco Acerbi, the most experienced of Inter's backline, is likely to have as much contact as anyone with the Norwegian due to his position at the heart of the Nerazzurri's back three. 

And the 35-year-old will need to draw on all of his physical and mental attributes to keep the Norwegian quiet. Like a lot of Italian defenders, Acerbi is comparable to a fine wine because he seems to get better with age. 

He was 26 by the time he made the first of his 29 senior appearances for Italy but turned 35 in February and must attempt to keep tabs on the 22-year-old Haaland, who is more than 12 years his junior.

Acerbi has often played on the left of a back three where his lack of pace can leave him exposed, but he has featured centrally in recent times. 

He is physically strong and excellent in the air but would be vulnerable if isolated in a foot race with Haaland. 

Inter will likely defend deep in an effort to protect Acerbi but Haaland should have his moments and looks likely to have a major impact, with him just 4/6 in the Anytime market.

Kevin De Bruyne v Marcelo Brozovic

A lot of the service into Haaland comes from Kevin De Bruyne, who finished the Premier League season with 16 assists, putting him four clear of closest challenger Mohamed Salah. 

De Bruyne, 6/4 for Over 0.5 Assists, also tops that chart in the Champions League with six, but he often goes it alone and did that to devastating effect with a superb equaliser in the 1-1 semi-final first-leg draw away to Real Madrid. 

Inter will be well aware that De Bruyne has to be stopped and Marcelo Brozovic will be among the players tasked with limiting the Belgian’s impact. 

Brozovic is one of the more defensive-minded of his team's midfielders and enjoys the physical side of the game. 

The 30-year-old Croatian is usually tactically astute but has been carded 11 times this season. He is 11/8 to be booked and will want to avoid an early caution in the final as it would severely limit his impact on the game.

Ruben Dias v Lautaro Martinez

City's defence are rarely overworked but concentration will be key as they prepare to go up against Inter's front two of Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko. 

Martinez will be the player looking to run in behind the City backline and he will probably find himself up against Ruben Dias, who plays centrally in Pep Guardiola's back three. 

The Argentine has had a fantastic season, scoring 21 Serie A goals, although he has been less influential on Champions League nights, netting just three times in 12 appearances. 

However, he is an excellent finisher and his partnership with Dzeko will pose a test to the City backline and especially Dias, who can be vulnerable when left one on one against a pacy opponent.

Ederson v Andre Onana

The battle of the goalkeepers will be intriguing with Ederson hoping to outshine his opposite number Andre Onana. 

Ederson is a fantastic shot-stopper and is very good with the ball at his feet, although he can become over-confident when faced with a high press. 

Onana has established himself as Inter's number one since last summer's switch from Ajax and is renowned as a penalty saving expert. 

The Cameroonian has saved seven of 33 spot-kicks at club level, which compares well with Ederson, who has saved seven of 54.

Pep Guardiola v Simeone Inzaghi

Guardiola won the European Cup as a player and has collected two Champions League winners medals as a manager, but he has not lifted the famous trophy since 2011 and will be desperate to come up with a winning formula. 

His opposite number, Simeone Inzaghi, will be experiencing the Champions League final for the first time, but has shown a great deal of skill and tactical nous to take Inter to the showpiece. 

Inzaghi's team never looked in danger in their quarter-final against Benfica despite a seemingly close 5-3 aggregate score, and they looked comfortable for long spells in their 3-0 semi-final aggregate triumph over Milan. 

However, the 47-year-old's team have lost two and drawn one of three Champions League matches when conceding the first goal and they will probably need to come up with an effective 'plan b' in the final. 

Inzaghi's 3-5-2 system can become a 5-3-2 against high-quality opposition, making it difficult to get the wing-backs high enough up the pitch to service the front two.

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