Tonali, Pulisic, Donnarumma, Maignan and more: The intriguing sub-plots in Group F

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan have been drawn in the group that many consider to be hardest of all the Champions League groups, and each game will have some interesting sub-plots.

In today’s draw in Monaco, Milan were put in Group F alongside Ligue 1 winner Paris Saint-Germain, Bundesliga runners-up Borussia Dortmund and Premier League side Newcastle United.

There are quite a few players who will be eager to face off against former clubs, starting with the PSG game where Mike Maignan and Yacine Adli will go back to the club where they both spent a large chunk of their youth careers.

Of course, Gianluigi Donnarumma will finally return to San Siro as well after his controversial exit, while Theo Hernandez, Olivier Giroud and Maignan will face off against a few of their French international team-mates. Theo will also face his brother, Lucas.

Moving on to Dortmund, the obvious story line involves Christian Pulisic going back to the team where he made a name for himself in Europe. He will face his USA team-mate Gio Reyna too.

Finally, the Newcastle United game needs little introduction, after Sandro Tonali’s club-record move there and other sub-plots like the Sven Botman battle.

Tags AC Milan


  1. Let’s kick $umma a$$.

    Interesting to see Tonali reaction, he seemed unhappy to leave. Bet he never think he will be back so soon to San Siro eh

  2. It will be so exciting to watch man. I would be happy with whatever result we get, but I want us to finish 1. That would be so much of a confidence boost for us. My prediction will be Milan and Dortmund going through, with Newcastle finishing last. Let’s kick that fraud’s Dumma’s A$$.

    1. Not sure you know your stuff, perhaps you should have used the word “ hope” instead of prediction then it might have made sense.

      1. I just want us and Dortmund to qualify over PSG and Newcastle. Many of my friends are member of Dortmund, so obviously I will want us and Dortmund to qualify over those Middle East Clubs. It’s not a bad prediction in my opinion but if you want PSG and Newcastle to qualify it’s your choice can’t do anything about it.

        1. We are American club not Italian neither European.
          I hate Psg too, but Newcastle they are big deal here. They don’t spend too much like city, Psg, united, Liverpool but they are soo good in such a short time

          1. They got mauled by City on match day 2, it was like a cat batting a mouse around and they also failed to beat 10 man Liverpool. Newcastle are doing well but they are very inexperienced and it shows. Imagine them turning up to a fully choreographed San Siro, champions league music hits and Rafa has a stormer..

  3. So many story lines here…. every game will be fascinating.

    The real question is, who is marking Mbappe? Kalulu/Calabria + Krunic?

    1. With inverted full back system, Mbappe have already scored by the time Calabria/thiaw reach mbappe
      Maybe Tomori, kalulu should play as right centre back and right back it’s the only way I see here

    2. The answer appears to be – Nobody in Group F is going to be marking him, because Mbappe is strongly rumored to be headed to Real Madrid, so he will be the problem of the Real’s opponents in Group C – Napoli, Sporting Braga, and Union Berlin.

      PSG are likely to really struggle this season – they have lost every single star player, and look to lose Mbappe as well.

      Newcastle has started poorly this season, losing to Man City and then choking away a 1-0 lead to a ten-man Liverpool with just ten minutes left to play …. and this was at HOME, at vaunted St. James Park.

      Tonali barely did anything in either game, and was subbed out in both games by Eddie Howe. I know he gets so much love here because he’s a home grown Milan boy, but really, both RLC and Reijnders, and probably even Musah can handle him.

      Having followed Newcastle for some time, I don’t think they really improved their team enough to take on the extra rigors of a Champions League campaign, and they have not played in CL for over 20 years.

      Eddie Howe got his team to really over-perform last year, but tactically, he’s a one-trick pony – play a rough tough press, and fast counterattacks. The CL won’t take kindly to the sort of rough tackling that gets let go in the Premiere League by his crew, and tactically, Newcastle have a hard time with both holding on to a lead AND also with recovering from getting behind because so many of their wins are based on overwhelming their opponents with their fast counterattacks.

      For all the complaints that people here have about Pioli, he’s light years ahead of Eddie Howe in terms of understanding and adjusting tactics, especially in Big Game moments.

      Dunno much about BvB for this season – they tend to do well in the Champions League, but they also tend to choke in the Big Games, like losing to a piddling team in the last game of the season while leading the Bundesliga, and thus handing over the Bundesliga title to Bayern and Tommy Tuchel. They lost one of their big stars, Bellinghame to Real this summer, dunno if they have anybody to replace him.

      So, all in all, especially if Mbappe goes over to Real and Group C. the draw may not be quite the Group of Death that everybody is painting it to be.

  4. I’m having nightmares right now about Calabria trying to mark Mbappe. I think Kalulu needs to be in there at least to add some more pace.

    1. Let’s not forget Calabria kept Kvaratakhelia quiet 4 times last season. It’s going to be about tactics, Mbappe is world class and has pace so we need to counter that tactically

      1. Milan basically doubled Kvara in that game, and while he may be a great dribbler, he doesn’t have near the pace of Mbappe. Also Milan weren’t playing inverted fullback then either which is just going to leave more space for Mbappe on our right side. Hopefully Pioli will play a little more cautiously in that game.

        1. Always with the “Milan doubled Kvara and Calabria didn’t do anything by himself”-crap. Well… They could “double” Mbappe as well and keep him in Calabria’s pocket too. Kalulu? Nope, he can’t do it.

  5. It feels like picked without random. All teams have comnection to ACM. Tonali Will never expect he Will meet ACM again in this instant.

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