AC Milan - Viktoria Plzen Preview: Serie A holders have won only two of their last 14 Champions League games
The Italian champions will look to make it two wins on the bounce when they welcome the title holders of Czech Republic to San Siro on Wednesday
By Livio Caferoglu
Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Taiwo
Ambrosini, Van Bommel, Emanuelson
Limbersky, Bystron, Cisovsky, Rajtoral
Pilar, Kolar, Petrzela
However, the same cannot be said for suspended Gennaro Gattuso and injured quartet Robinho, Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Mathieu Flamini, but there is a slight hope for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who could feature in some capacity. A tactical change is also likely, as Ambrosini will come in for Stephan El Shaarawy, seeing Alberto Aquilani pushed forward in a 4-3-2-1.
For Pavel Urba's visitors, they have only goalkeeper Roman Pavlik as their main injury worry, but the arrival of fellow shot-stopper Marek Cech during the summer seems to have softened the blow. Plzen are set to name an unchanged side from their 0-0 draw at the weekend against Ceske Budejovice, with a 4-2-3-1 system ready to be deployed that has also served them well during their qualifying campaign for the tournament over the summer.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- AC Milan have won only two of their last 14 Champions League matches.
- They have lost five of their last nine home games in the Champions League, keeping a clean sheet just once.
- However, the Rossoneri have won all of their four home games against Czech clubs in Europe.
- The only Czech side to beat AC Milan were Slovan Liberec back in the 2002-03 edition of the competition.
- Czech teams have conceded 11 goals in four trips to Italy since the inception of the Champions League.
- This will be the first competitive meeting between AC Milan and Viktoria Plzen.
- Plzen are unbeaten in their last five games and seven European fixtures, while losing just twice in 16 matches this season.
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Top 3 Predictions
AC Milan 3-0 FC Viktoria Plzeň
- 29.44 %
AC Milan 2-0 FC Viktoria Plzeň
- 24.91 %
AC Milan 3-1 FC Viktoria Plzeň
- 10.3 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||6 Dec 2011||FC Viktoria Plzeň 2 - AC Milan 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||28 Sep 2011||AC Milan 2 - FC Viktoria Plzeň 0|
|11 Dec 2013||AC Milan 0 - Ajax 0||UCL|
|7 Dec 2013||Livorno 2 - AC Milan 2||SR-A|
|1 Dec 2013||Catania 1 - AC Milan 3||SR-A|
|26 Nov 2013||Celtic 0 - AC Milan 3||UCL|
|23 Nov 2013||AC Milan 1 - Genoa 1||SR-A|
|17||Mark van Bommel||Midfielder|
|2||Mattia De Sciglio||Defender|
|-||Simone Andrea Ganz||Striker|
The ex-Sampdoria hitman endured a poor match against Barcelona in the first week, but the onus is now on him to deliver the goods for Milan. His stock at the club and importance to the team has greatly risen in recent times, as he will be leading the line on Wednesday, with Emanuelson and Aquilani expected to play off him. Subsequently, there should not be a shortage of service and he could give the Plzen defence a difficult night with his hugely intelligent play both on and off the ball.
The marksman, once wanted by Celtic, is currently on fire for the Czechs having fired six goals in just five qualifying matches, plus netting a further two in this season's league campaign. His prolific performance and natural instinct are two of his most dangerous attributes, and the hosts' rearguard will have to remain alert throughout the match if the Slovakian striker is not to add another goal to his collection, following Plzen's first ever Champions League goal against BATE Borisov in the first week.
Despite having to contend with a number of key performers being out, the Serie A champions should still easily sail to victory on Wednesday, and it is potentially tricky encounters such as these which Milan will have to overcome if they are to make a significant impact on this season's competition. Despite an ageing midfield, their sheer experience and know-how, coupled with the imagination and invention of Aquilani and Cassano in attack, should prove to be a deadly combination.