AC Milan have a big task to beat Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion tonight. Milan are in the Group of Death alongside Dortmund, Newcastle United and Paris St Germain. The Rossoneri drew the opener and now need to make an impression in the group or risk being turned into the punching bag. The side made it to the semi finals of the competition last year so expectations will be running high.
Here are some key battles to look out for:
Right wing vs Left central defensive midfielder
Christian Pulisic vs Felix Nmecha
Pulisic has a big responsibility in this game as he needs to be a creative outlet but more significantly he needs to make an impression against his former side. The American winger will be going up against a 3-5-2 which stumped the side when facing Inter Milan and he will have to deal with Nmecha who acts a a block on the right sitting in front of the defence. Pulisic has the pace but needs to be more direct and take on his man to really have an impact coming down that wing. His late runs into the box have been extremely effective and he has 3 goals thus far as a result. He needs to pierce that defensive line and always be looking for that shot just inside the box.
Centre back vs Striker
Malick Thiaw vs Nicolas Fullkrug
New signing Fullkrug got off the mark in Dortmund’s last league game and is expected to start over Haller. He is big and strong and will cause issues for Thiaw and Tomori similar to Petagna and Thuram in recent matches. Thiaw will need to be steadfast and utilise his superior speed over the 30 year old classic number 9. Milan must be the ones to get the first goal as Dortmund playing a low block will be very difficult to break down. Thiaw has fared well this season but remains raw in his reading of the game and his decision making at points. He needs to have a tidy 90 minutes.
Right winger vs Left back
Donyell Malen vs Theo Hernandez
Malen is the most threatening player in this Dortmund side playing either as a right winger or striker depending on the formation deployed. His pace and clinical finishing are immense and he is a gamechanger. Theo Hernandez will be tasked to deal with him but will have no filter to keep him at bay with Rade Krunic out with injury. Theo is having an underwhelming start to the season but is putting in decent shifts regardless, he will need to have a defensive masterclass in this one as Malen can hit early and this can drastically change the outlook of the game.