AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli insists his side are full of confidence as they look to get their first Champions League Group F win at Borussia Dortmund.
The Rossoneri, last season’s semi-finalists, were held to a goalless draw at home by Newcastle in their opening match, while Dortmund lost away to Paris St Germain.
Pioli’s team, though, have since won three straight Serie A games, with their only defeat so far this season a 5-1 loss to city rivals Inter.
Defeat in Paris is Dortmund’s sole loss from eight games in all competitions – and Pioli is expecting a vociferous atmosphere when AC Milan run out at the Westfalenstadion on Wednesday night
“Our recent wins in the league have given us confidence but now, tomorrow is all that matters,” Pioli told a press conference.
“Two years ago, when we played at Anfield, we were probably a bit afraid. But after a journey in Europe like ours, we’re able to compete in the competition and with atmospheres like this.
“We need to play with the right mentality and do all we can to try to win. The game is important in the group but there’s a long way to go, regardless of the outcome tomorrow. It won’t be decisive but the result will definitely matter.”
— AC Milan (@acmilan) October 3, 2023
Pioli also highlighted Dortmund’s incredible home record in the Champions League.
He added: “They’ve not lost at home in the Champions League in almost two years.
“Dortmund play attacking football; they’re quick and have a lot of quality. We’ll need to be intelligent enough to attack the spaces and control the game at various moments.
“BVB are backed by a fantastic home support; we’ve spoken about these little details in training to be in the best shape possible for tomorrow evening.”
AC Milan look set to be without English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who went off during the first half of Saturday’s Serie A win over Lazio with a groin problem.
French defender Pierre Kalulu has missed the last five games with a thigh injury, while midfielder Rade Krunic is also out with a similar issue and not expected to return until after the international break later in October.
Dortmund won 3-1 at Hoffenheim on Friday night before turning their attention back on the Champions League.
Despite having three victories from their last four games in all competitions, Dortmund coach Edin Terzic wants his side fully focussed on the challenge ahead.
See U(CL) Soon pic.twitter.com/kvVO51O4I8
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) October 2, 2023
“It will be a completely different game to the one against Paris (in the opening group game),” Terzic told a press conference.
“We have to be braver when we don’t have the ball. Milan have a different way of playing, but we have introduced a lot of good things in the last few games that will be crucial again.
“At this level, no game will be easy, but we have our first home game, with our guys and the fans in the stadium, so we want to get our first win tomorrow.”
Dortmund midfielder Marcel Sabitzer is closing in on a return from an adductor problem suffered against PSG, but the Austrian is not expected to be involved on Wednesday night.