Since last week, when Dinamo Zagreb stunned Chelsea 1-0 in their Champions League debut at home, the club has been the subject of numerous news stories. The victory created a great deal of unrest within the English club, ultimately resulting in Thomas Tuchel’s departure.
Although they have not been in particularly impressive form in Europe, they have beaten some notable teams in the Europa League in each of the last two seasons. They have a poor track record against Milan, losing all four of their prior meetings with the Italians.
However, their form at home is encouraging, with eight victories and a draw. With this victory over Chelsea under their belts, Dinamo Zagreb will travel to Milan full of confidence and looking to add to their recent upsets, which already include Tottenham Hotspur, Sevilla, and West Ham United.
Pioli has the option of making changes to the Milan team that defeated Sampdoria. The management decided to rest some of his first team stars in preparation for the match against Dinamo in order to give others a chance to play. Fikayo Tomori will replace Simon Kjaer in the starting lineup as a central defender.
Pioli is missing a couple of key players due to injuries. Famous examples include Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alessandro Florenzi, Ante Rabic, Divock Origi, and Rade Krunic. Yet Milan still has enough offensive potency to make up for the absence of key players.
As for the second, it’s possible that Ismael Benaccer will replace Tommaso Pogeba in the middle of the field. In the center, Sandro Tonali will remain. Saelemaekers may replace Junior Messias in the last substitution, giving the latter a chance to use the likes of Oliver Giroud, Charles De Ketelaere, and Rafael Leao in the attacking third.
After such a fantastic performance, all eyes will be on Leao. The Portuguese star’s status has risen thanks to several impressive outings, especially since the winger has worked effectively with De Ketelaere and Giroud to form a deadly attacking trio.
Potential Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria; Kalulu; Tomori; Hernandez; Bennacer; Tonali; Saelemaekers; De Ketelaere; Leao; Giroud
There are not many injury or suspension issues plaguing Ante Cacic’s squad. To try and replicate last week’s victory over Chelsea versus Milan, the manager can use the same starting XI that started that game.
Zagreb’s Mislav Orsic, the club’s leading scorer in Europe with 18, will be the focal point of attention. Cacic will keep the same formation and back three of Stefan Ristovski, Josip Sutalo, and Dino Peric.
The trio of Josip Music, Luka Ivanusec, and Arijan Ademi will continue to serve as the midfield’s rock. With Orsic and Bruno Petkovic as the attacking duo, Sadegh Moharrami and Robert Ljubicic will continue to play on the wings.
Potential Starting Lineup (3-5-2): Livakovic, Ristovski, Sutalo, Peric, Moharrami, Ivanusec, Misic, Ademi, Ljubicic, Petkovic, Orisic, and Ljubicic, Ljubicic, and Petkovic.
Read more: 2022/23 Champions League Matchday 2: Fixture & Preview of Matchday 1
AC Milan defeated Dinamo Zagreb 2-1.
Milan has a clear advantage in terms of squad quality over its opponents, as well as a home advantage. However, the situation is extremely similar to that of Chelsea, who were superior on paper but ultimately fell short in the game. Pioli will look to learn from that game in order to secure his own result against the Croatians.
Zagreb will be riding high on confidence against this Milan team, knowing that the opponent struggles in Europe. Regardless of how impressive some of their records against top sides appear, Zagreb has only won successive games in this competition once in their history, pointing to a close triumph for Milan at the San Siro.