The Europa League draw has placed AC Milan in Group F. We present you all the information on our three opponents: the Greeks of Olympiacos Piraeus, the Spaniards of Real Betis and the Luxembourgish surprise of Dudelange.
USUAL LINEUP (4-2-3-1): Gianniotis; Elabdellaoui, Miranda, Meriah, Torosidis; Natcho, Bouchalakis; Christodoulopoulos, Fortounis, Podence; Guerrero. Coach: Pedro Martins
THE STAR: Konstantinos Fortounis, 25 year old attacking midfielder and Greece international. Raised in the youth ranks of the Piraeus team, he played for three seasons in Germany, with Kaiserslautern, before returning back home and making 104 appearances with 41 goals, also winning the title of top scorer. He is one of the best players in the Hellenic league. Eye also on former Bologna and Udinese Lazaros Christodoulopulos. Among the old acquaintances of Italian football there are also Fetfatzidis (Genoa), Marin (Fiorentina), Guilherme (Udinese) and Tachtsidis (Genoa, Verona, Turin and Rome).
THE TREND: Third in the league last season, has passed the two preliminary rounds eliminating the Swiss team of Lucerne and the British club of Burnley
Head-to-Head Matches: An “antique” encounter in the Champions League of the 1959-1960 season finished in 3-1 for the Rossoneri at San Siro with a hat trick by Danova and a 2-2 return to Piraeus with a double by Altafini.
USUAL LINEUP (3-4-2-1): Lopez; Mandi, Bartra, Feddal; Tello, Guardado, Carvalho, Firpo; Lo Celso, Inui/Canales; Sanabria. Coach: Setien
THE STAR: Antonio Sanabria, the 22 year old former striker of Barcelona and Roma is the Spaniard’s main danger up front. He was the youngest player in the European top leagues to have already scored 10 league goals in the 2015/2016 season and touched double digits before turning 20 (only 9 players in 50 years in La Liga have had the same success). This summer Betis signed William Carvalho from Sporting while Fabian Ruiz (Napoli), Durmisi (Lazio) and Pezzella (Fiorentina) were sold. Attention also to Giovani Lo Celso, a talented PSG midfielder signed on loan.
THE TREND: Sixth in the championship last season, in front of their cousins of Sevilla.
Head-to-Head Matches: The first game that featured both teams was played in 1970, May 13, in a friendly match in which the Spanish won 2 to 0, with two goals in the last 15 minutes by of Dacortza and Berruezo. Only two official matches have been played between AC Milan and Real Betis, in the round of 16 in the Cup Winners Cup, won by Anderlecht in the 1977-78 season. In the first leg Real Betis prevailed 2-0, while in the second leg Milan triumphed 2-1 (goals by Tosetto and Capello, for the Rossoneri). The last match was again won by Betis: at the Ruiz de Lopera a penalty converted by M. Gonzalez sealed the victory of the homes side on 9 August 2007. Unfavorable statistics for the Rossoneri, with a total of three games lost and only one won against Real Betis.
USUAL LINEUP (5-4-1): Joubert; Jordanov, Malget, Prempeh, Cruz, El Jritl; Sinani, Courturler, Kruska, Stolz; Turpel
THE STAR: David Turpel, 25 year old striker also of the Luxembourg national team (30 appearances and 2 goals). Eye also on Daniel Sinani, the left winger that eliminated Cluj in the playoff. Other important names are Bonnefoi (former Juventus goalkeeper) and Bisevac, former Lazio defender.
Head-to-Head Matches: Six precedents between AC Milan and Luxembourg teams (none with Dudelange) and six victories, respectively against Avenir, Differdange and Union Luxembourg. Dudelange is the first Luxembourg team to participate in the group stage of Europa League.