With Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk also in the group, three points at home would give Inter a solid platform from which to reach the round of 16, where last season's Europa League runners-up have not appeared since 2011-12.
The German side have built a team with some much-coveted internationals and will be far from pushovers on their return to Europe's top table.
Inter were the last Italian team to win the Champions League, in 2010 – their third European Cup and first in 45 years. Since then, Serie A sides have mostly flattered to deceive.
Recent portents are not good for the hosts: Inter have won only two of their last 10 Champions League matches, drawing three and losing five.
The Nerazzurri's most recent campaigns have ended in the group stage, finishing third in their section for the last two years. What's more, Inter have won only five of their last 19 matches against German opponents, losing 10.
For Borussia Monchengladbach, a last 16 berth would be uncharted territory, as their two previous Champions League campaigns both came to an end at the group stage. Die Fohlen have won two of their last three European games, but only three of the last 13 - drawing six and losing four.
Gladbach were fourth in the Bundesliga in 2019-20, their highest league finish since 2015-16, and have put together an exciting attacking unit under the aegis of Austria's Marco Rose.
Frenchman Alassane Plea opened his league account for the season in the 3-1 win at FC Koln prior to the international break, while compatriot and strike partner Marcus Thuram is a vital foil for the former Nice forward. The dynamic duo both notched double figures last season and can pose a threat to Inter's increasingly inconsistent three-man defence with their pace and movement.
Gladbach disappointingly drew 1-1 at home to Wolfsburg on Saturday, with Hofmann's second-half penalty being cancelled out by a late Wout Weghorst equaliser.
Inter, meanwhile, faced disappointment of their own, losing to city rivals AC Milan in an eventful Derby della Madonnina - Romelu Lukaku's goal not enough to claw back an early two-goal deficit.
Despite missing a couple of half-chances to save a draw from the derby, Lukaku has largely started this season in similar form to the end of last. The former Anderlecht man was named the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League Player of the Season at the start of the month, before scoring three goals in two Nations League games for Belgium during the recent international period.
Inter's Christian Eriksen celebrated his 100th cap for Denmark by scoring the only goal against England at Wembley, having also scored against the Faroe Islands and Iceland. Nonetheless, Antonio Conte apparently does not rate the mercurial playmaker worthy of a starting berth and the ex-Tottenham man may be benched once more.
Conte's South American contingent fared well during the international period too. Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal both scored for Chile, while Lautaro Martinez netted in Argentina's World Cup qualifying win over Bolivia.
This game, then, may well be a more finely-balanced affair than first meets eye.
Inter Milan form (all competitions): WWDL
Borussia Monchengladbach form (all competitions): WLDWD
Although Inter coach Conte will be able to welcome back Alessandro Bastoni after he returned a negative COVID-19 test on Saturday, the Nerazzurri are still without Ashley Young, Roberto Gagliardini and Milan Skriniar. Alexis Sanchez is back after a minor injury.
Radja Nainggolan may return to the squad, while Stefano Sensi - who missed the Milan derby due to suspension - is expected to start. Ivan Perisic is not guaranteed to continue at wing-back, so Matteo Darmian could come in, or Danilo D'Ambrosio will switch from the centre, to provide better defensive discipline.
Monchengladbach winger Valentino Lazaro - on loan from Inter - has not played since the end of August due to a calf injury. The Austrian international featured three times in last season's Champions League group stage for his parent club but will not be available just yet.
Andreas Poulsen - out since July with a shoulder injury - and talented midfielder Denis Zakaria (knee) are both still sidelined. Laszlo Benes has returned to training but is not considered ready to start.
Striker Alassane Plea will be a welcome returnee, after missing the weekend's Bundesliga action to attend the birth of his first child.
Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; de Vrij, Kolarov, D'Ambrosio; Darmian, Vidal, Sensi, Barella, Hakimi; Lukaku, Martinez
Borussia Monchengladbach possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Kramer, Neuhaus, Stindl; Hofmann, Plea, Thuram
We say: Inter Milan 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
For all their undoubted pedigree, Inter have defensive issues which continue to undermine a potent attacking threat.
Gladbach's potentially explosive front line can cause the Milan giants enough problems to justify a draw in this Group B opener.