AC Milan is a team with a stable and long-term project, and recently made it to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. With Stefano Pioli in his fifth year as head coach, the giants from Milano seem to have finally returned to Europe’s greatest stage.
The Rossoneri had a brilliant campaign in their previous run, beating last season’s sensation in Napoli in the quarter-finals. Despite their loss in last year’s semifinals, AC Milan have a more well-rounded squad than before and could pose a big threat to BVB.
Despite losing Sandro Tonali and Brahim Díaz, AC Milan made some interesting signings, bringing in Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, Tijjani Reijnders, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Noah Okafor.
AC Milan enjoyed an impressive start to the season, with three wins in their first three matches, including a 2-1 win against AS Roma. This past weekend, though, they encountered their bogeyman from last season. The Rossoneri suffered a sound defeat by 5-1 to Inter Milan, a big blow ahead of the start of the Champions League.
But Borussia Dortmund can certainly not afford to take Milan for granted. They usually play in a 4-3-3 formation and possess their biggest strength on the left side, with Rafael Leão and Theo Hernández combining speed, dribbling, and line-breaking capabilities.
Borussia Dortmund could potentially struggle to defend against those weapons, especially when facing Milan’s deadly counter-attacks in away games.
Milan, however, do not have the best defensive numbers, considering the their history of good defending. They conceded 11 goals in 12 CL matches last season and had only the seventh-best defence in Serie A, conceding 43 goals in 38 matches.
Even with these numbers, AC Milan played extremely competitive and solid defensive football against possession-heavy sides like Napoli, who had a very hard time infiltrating and creating chances inside their box. That might be the case with Dortmund, a team that has been having a hard time creating chances in those areas.
For those reasons, Borussia Dortmund should find the balance between consistent defending in the flanks and managing to progress the ball better in dangerous areas in order to have a shot against AC Milan. After all, BVB do not have the luxury of dropping points in this group, especially at home.