AC Milan begin their International Champions Cup tournament in Chicago, Illinois, USA against Bayern Munich at Solider Field Wednesday evening local time.
Coming fresh off a 2-1 victory over Bordeaux in the club’s first preseason friendly of the summer, we now have a taste of how new manager Vincenzo Montella will control the game.
Montella has been focusing heavily on possession during his time at the helm thus far. Finishing that friendly with a total possession percentage of 54% while Milan enjoyed a superior 83% during the opening five minutes of play.
The first game of our International Champions Cup USA tour is no easy task. Faced off against five time UCL winners, coming off their fourth straight Bundesliga title; Bayern Munich have had polar opposite fortunes compared to Milan.
Those titles all came under the reign of now Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola; A new gaffer has stepped up in the form of AC Milan legend, Carlo Ancelloti.
So far Bayern has had three preseason friendlies lead up to this match, which they have won all three by an aggregate score of 8-3.
Included in those victories was a 1-0 win over Man City and their former boss, Pep.
Thanks to the match against Bordeaux we have an idea of how Montella will choose to line up.
During the previous friendly, Milan chose to use a 4-3-3 with a deep laying midfielder in front of the back line. One thing Montella did differently was to deploy Bonaventura in the midfield instead of on the wing.I believe Vincenzo will continue this formation and look to keep a similar lineup as well. Worth noting Bacca, Lapadula and Vangioni did not travel to the USA and Menez returned to Italy with an injury.
Probable XI: Donnarumma; Abate, Paletta, Romagnoli, Antonelli; Montolivo, Poli, Bertolacci; Suso, Niang, Bonaventura.
To work in AC Milan’s favor, Bayern are traveling without ten of their first team players. The list is filled with stars that fans of Bayern will surely miss including world-class goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Others not traveling include: Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Arjen Robben, Renato Sanches, and Douglas Costa.
Expect to see a Bayern side heavily influenced by youth squad members and second string players looking to break out into their starting squad for the upcoming season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The obvious player to watch for on the Milan squad is Suso. Easily the star of the Bordeaux match; netting twice he has carried his form over from Genoa where he was on loan last season.
Niang is a tricky choice because he spent a large portion of last season on the injury list. While fit he is a forced to be reckoned with, which begs the question.. Is he fit? Stay tuned and we will find out.
Frank Ribery is a familiar name from the Bavarian side but is also sort of an enigma. Ribery is an extremely talented player who has seen his career be plagued with injuries since his debut season at Bayern.
Fully fit for arguably the first time at the club and with the confidence of Ancelloti behind him, expect to see a determined Frank Ribery take the pitch with a fierce determination to prove his doubters wrong.
LAST TIME THEY MET
These teams met just last year during the 2015 Audi Cup, a four-team tournament which saw Milan taking last and Bayern taking first.Milan lost their opening match against Bayern by a 3-0 scoreline.
A decent first half saw Bayern head into half time with only a 1-0 lead. In the final twenty minutes of the match Milan slipped up and allowed a following two goals into the back of their net.
Kick off is at 20:00 CDT.
USA: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes
UK: Sky Sports 1, NOW TV UK
Italy: PremiumSport 2