AC Milan’s Europa League campaign will proceed this week, seeing the Rossoneri competing against Norwegian side FK Bodo/Glimt at the San Siro. Glimt have beaten 2 Lithuanian sides to reach this stage of the competition, whereas Milan progressed against Shamrock Rovers last week. Coach Pioli can rely on having Kjaer and Castillejo available, despite both being subbed off due to injuries, whilst Leao has resumed training with the squad again. No major changes are expected in the starting 11 from the last match against Bologna. The only change will be Rebic, most likely replaced by Saelemaekers, as he is still suspended from UEFA competition matches.
This is the first time that the Rossoneri will be playing FK Bodo/Glimt, however, it is not the first time that we are drawn against a Norwegian side. The only official meeting with a Norwegian team goes back 24 years, and it is not a sweet memory at all. It was the last group stage match of the 1996/97 Champions League and Sacchi was just re-hired 3 days prior. The Diavoli needed only a draw to secure a quarterfinal spot and despite winning 1-4 away on matchday 2, Milan lost the decisive match at the Meazza. Needless to say, it was not a great year for the Rossoneri.
Looking forward, our next opponent are currently on a high, top in their domestic league with a 16 point lead, having the best attack (65 goals) and the second best defense (20 goals). Led by Coach Kjetil Knudsen, they are known to play highly attacking football, often scoring 2-3 goals per match. Their attacking trio, made up of Danes Zinckernagel and Junker together with Norwegian 20 year old Hauge (one to watch out for), has seen them netting more than 10 goals each, securing 16 wins from 18 games. Another thing to note is that they are still without a loss this season.
As Coach Pioli said in his last press-conference, the squad is focused on this match and that it should be given utmost importance. He also emphasized that the Norwegians will most likely play the game of their lives and that we should show nothing but equal motivation. A fast paced opponent is expected on the pitch and given the qualities of the Rossoneri, a good result can and should be obtained.
As always, FORZA MILAN!