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Guardiola drops injured Walker for Champions League final

Pep Guardiola has dropped Kyle Walker from Manchester City’s starting XI for the Champions League final against Inter after he failed to recover from a back problem in time for Saturday’s showdown in Istanbul.

England international Walker being benched means Manuel Akanji starts on the right of a three-man defence also featuring Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake into which Jone Stones can drop back from midfield.

Erling Haaland leads the line for an otherwise familiar team, looking to add to his tournament-leading 12 goals from 10 appearances as City aim to be crowned continental kings for the first time.

Lone striker Haaland will be backed up by assist king Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, with Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish on each flank.

Edin Dzeko starts against his former club City after winning the battle for a starting spot along Lautaro Martinez in Inter’s two-man attack.

Simone Inzaghi has left Romelu Lukaku on the bench despite the Belgium striker’s hot form in the final weeks of the season.

Lukaku, who has scored seven times and set up five more in his last 11 matches, will likely be used as a weapon from the bench.

Marcelo Brozovic has been given the nod in midfield ahead of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the Croat lining up alongside Nicolo Barella and Hakan Calhanoglu who can win club football’s biggest prize in his home country.

Teams (kick-off 1900 GMT):

Manchester City (3-2-4-1)

Ederson; Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake; Rodri, John Stones; Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan (capt), Jack Grealish; Erling Haaland

Coach: Pep Guardiola (ESP)

Inter (3-5-2)

Andre Onana; Matteo Darmian, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni; Denzel Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Marcelo Brozovic (capt), Federico Dimarco; Edin Dzeko, Lautaro Martinez

Coach: Simone Inzaghi (ITA)

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)

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