We look ahead to Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League Group F clash with our AC Milan vs Borussia Dortmund prediction and preview. Will the visitors book their place in the knockout stage?
AC Milan vs Borussia Dortmund: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer predicts a 48.4% chance of victory for AC Milan when they welcome Borussia Dortmund (27.8%) to San Siro for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League fixture.
- Milan have only scored twice in the Champions League this season, with only Benfica (one) netting fewer goals over the first four matchdays in the competition.
- Should Dortmund win, Edin Terzić would become the youngest manager to beat Milan at San Siro in the Champions League since Pep Guardiola with Barcelona in November 2011.
Borussia Dortmund’s UEFA Champions League campaign was in danger of unravelling when they only earned one point from their opening two games in Group F, losing 2-0 at Paris Saint-Germain before drawing 0-0 with AC Milan in Westphalia. However, BVB enter Tuesday’s return fixture against the Rossoneri on the brink of the knockout rounds after back-to-back wins over Newcastle United.
Felix Nmecha’s cultured finish was enough as Dortmund earned a hard-fought victory at St James’ Park on Matchday 3, then Niclas Füllkrug and Julian Brandt were on target as they made it a double with a 2-0 win at Signal Iduna Park in their last European outing. Edin Terzić’s men will guarantee their spot in the last 16 if they win in Italy, having succeeded in keeping things tight in Europe.
Indeed, Dortmund haven’t conceded in their last three Champions League matches, and could now keep four successive clean sheets in the competition for the first time since doing so under Jürgen Klopp between April and October 2014. Their three clean sheets in four European outings are as many as they have managed in 12 Bundesliga matches this campaign.
While their defensive solidity deserted them on Saturday, Dortmund did end a three-game winless run in the Bundesliga by fighting back from two goals down for a thrilling 4-2 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach. Terzić will be hoping for a similarly devastating attacking performance on Tuesday.
Dortmund have been at their best when hitting teams in transition on the European stage, with only Bayern Munich (17), Real Madrid and Milan (15 each) recording more than their 13 direct attacks in the Champions League this season, while no team has bettered their two goals from such scenarios.
In defence, Dortmund will again rely on 34-year-old linchpin Mats Hummels, who has the most combined tackles and interceptions in the Champions League this season (24). He is also one of just three players to reach double figures in the tournament for each of those metrics, along with Milan’s Fikayo Tomori and Galatasaray’s Abdülkerim Bardakcı.
Tuesday’s visitors will be without Nmecha for the rest of their group-stage games after the midfielder suffered a hip injury, but they are hoping to have attacking duo Karim Adeyemi and Sébastien Haller available after both missed Saturday’s game through illness.
Should Terzić oversee a victory, he will – at the age of 41 years and 29 days – become the youngest manager to beat Milan at San Siro in a Champions League fixture since Pep Guardiola led Barcelona to a 3-2 win in November 2011 (40 years, 309 days).
Milan, meanwhile, know their last-16 hopes will be over if they lose and PSG beat Newcastle in Group F’s other game on Tuesday. However, they should approach the match in good spirits after a superb comeback victory over the French champions on Matchday 4, with Rafael Leão and Olivier Giroud on target after Milan Škriniar had given PSG the lead.
However, those are the only goals last season’s Champions League semi-finalists have scored in Europe this campaign. Stefano Pioli’s men have underperformed their expected goals (xG) by 3.7 in this edition of the Champions League (two goals from 5.7 xG), with only rivals Inter (-3.8, five goals from 8.8 xG) underperforming their underlying numbers by a greater margin.
The Rossoneri were not at their free-flowing best in Serie A on Saturday, but they still secured a 1-0 win at home to Fiorentina as Theo Hernández won and converted a first-half penalty. The left-back has created eight chances in the Champions League this season, a joint-high tally among Milan players (alongside Leão and Rade Krunić).
Milan had to field a much-changed lineup for that win, with Pioli’s hands tied by something of an injury crisis. Ismaël Bennacer, Simon Kjær and Pierre Kalulu are among their absentees, while Francesco Camarda, who became the youngest player in Serie A history at the age of 15 years and 260 days on Saturday, is banned due to a recent red card in the UEFA Youth League.
Their biggest worry, though, concerns the fitness of Leão, who is doubtful due to a hamstring injury. The electrifying Portugal wideman leads all Milan players for open-play chances created (eight), dribbles completed (15) and progressive carries (34) in the 2023-24 Champions League.
AC Milan vs Borussia Dortmund Head-to-Head
These two drew 0-0 in Germany on MD 2, but Tuesday’s game will see Milan host Dortmund in the Champions League for the first time since 2002-03, when the Rossoneri suffered a 1-0 defeat in the second group stage.
Prior to that game, Milan had won their two previous home games against BVB, triumphing 4-1 in the European Cup in 1957-58 and winning a UEFA Cup clash 3-1 in 2001-02.
That defeat in 2002-03 also represents Milan’s only loss in their last 16 home games against German teams in European competitions, recording 11 wins and four draws during that run.
Dortmund have generally struggled in Italy in recent years, losing four of their five matches there in UEFA competitions since winning 2-0 at Udinese in the UEFA Cup in October 2008 (one draw).
After masterminding Milan’s MD 4 turnaround against PSG, Pioli is looking to win consecutive Champions League games for just the second time as a manager.
He previously did so with a run of three victories last season, when his team followed up group-stage wins over Dinamo Zagreb and Salzburg by beating Tottenham 1-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
Dortmund, meanwhile, are looking to post three successive wins in Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since November 2020, when they won three on the spin under Lucien Favre.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off on Tuesday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
AC Milan vs Borussia Dortmund Prediction
Although Dortmund approach Tuesday’s game two points clear of Milan in Group F, the Opta supercomputer makes the Rossoneri favourites on home soil.
Of the 10,000 match simulations conducted by the supercomputer ahead of kick-off, Milan won 48.4%. Dortmund are given a 27.8% chance of a decisive win, with the likelihood of a draw rated at 23.8%.
In our overall Group F predictions, Dortmund are handed a 70% chance of advancing, compared to Milan’s 37.5%. The Bundesliga outfit are still seen as big outsiders to go all the way, however, with just a 2.11% chance of lifting the trophy, the 12th highest of any team.
AC Milan vs Borussia Dortmund UCL Squads
AC Milan: Mike Maignan, Marco Sportiello, Antonio Mirante, Davide Calabria, Theo Hernández, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, Simon Kjær, Malick Thiaw, Mattia Caldara, Alessandro Florenzi, Yacine Adli, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tijjani Reijnders, Tommaso Pobega, Rade Krunić, Yunus Musah, Olivier Giroud, Rafael Leão, Christian Pulisic, Luka Jović, Noah Okafor, Samuel Chukwueze.
Head Coach: Stefano Pioli
Borussia Dortmund: Gregor Kobel, Alexander Meyer, Silas Ostrzinski, Marcel Lotka, Nico Schlotterbeck, Ramy Bensebaini, Mats Hummels, Emre Can, Niklas Süle, Julian Ryerson, Lion Semic, Hendry Blank, Özcan, Gio Reyna, Felix Nmecha, Marco Reus, Julien Duranville, Marius Wolf, Julian Brandt, Marcel Sabitzer, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Sébastien Haller, Niclas Füllkrug, Youssoufa Moukoko, Donyell Malen, Karim Adeyemi.
Head Coach: Edin Terzić