With a 1-1 draw at Salzburg, AC Milan’s most recent effort to win the UEFA Champions League and become Italian champions for the first time since 1994 got off to a dismal start. Stefano Pioli, Milan’s head coach, called the performance “good” but pointed out weaknesses, as Milan had only kept one clean sheet in their previous nine UCL games.
The Rossoneri have won six straight games in the San Siro, and after following that up with a victory over Sampdoria over the weekend, they enter this match unbeaten overall in 12 games. They are now highly anticipated to end a nine-year wait for a UCL home win. The other two games in that run saw Milan battle back after losing first. This includes four clean sheets.
After the group stage draw, Dinamo Zagreb appeared to be cannon fodder, but their 1-0 victory over Chelsea, which led to the dismissal of Blues manager Thomas Tuchel, has decreased the likelihood that they will finally advance from a UCL group after seven unsuccessful attempts dating back to their group stage debut in 1998–1999.
Dinamo’s lone UCL group away victory came during that same season, but otherwise the club’s road record is dismal at this point (D3, L17). This includes 14 occasions where they were defeated “to nil” by a score of two goals or more, setting up Dinamo to continue their perfect record against Milan by losing a fifth match.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Messias scored once more in the Rossoneri’s final Serie A encounter, making him Milan’s most recent UCL matchwinner. Mislav Oršić of Dinamo was the hero for the opposition against Chelsea, and after also scoring the game-winning goal against HNK Gorica over the weekend, he has now scored the first goal in four of his previous five games.