Defender Benjamin Pavard could start on the bench for Inter Milan in this evening’s Champions League match against Benfica.

This according to today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, who anticipate that Matteo Darmian could start the group stage clash rather than the Frenchman.

Inter coach Simone Inzaghi has just a few hours left in which to make his lineup decisions for this evening’s match.

Three points may not be outright necessary, but it will feel that way.

Inter were only able to scrape a draw in their first group stage match, away to Real Sociedad.

And, more worryingly, that match saw the Nerazzurri overrun for long stretches, with the point that they took away from San Sebastian truthfully a generous reflection of their performance.

Therefore, a statement win would be hugely significant for Inter to bounce back from that flat opener.

And for Benfica, the importance of a result this evening would be even greater.

The Portuguese champions’ opening day match was a disaster. They fell to a 0-2 defeat at home to Red Bull Salzburg, after having defender Antonio Silva sent off.

Benjamin Pavard Could Be Benched For Inter In UCL Clash Vs Benfica

Naturally, Inter coach Simone Inzaghi will be aiming to play his strongest eleven this evening, or something like it.

In attack this will certainly mean the return of captain Lautaro Martinez.

And in defense, the Gazzetta report that Pavard’s place in the starting eleven is also under threat.

The 27-year-old former Bayern Munich defender had actually started against La Real in Inter’s group stage opener.

And he has also started Serie A wins over Empoli and Salernitana.

But according to the Gazzetta, Pavard could drop out of the lineup this evening. It would be the veteran Darmian taking his place.

The 33-year-old had started both of Inter’s quarterfinal matches against Benfica last season.

And according to the Gazzetta, Inzaghi may turn to Darmian to reprise his performances in those matches, forming a tandem on Inter’s right side with Denzel Dumfries.