The top two in Champions League Group C collide on Wednesday night, as Malaga welcome Italian giants AC Milan to La Rosaleda stadium.
In what will undoubtedly be an unforgettable night for all fans of the Andalusian club, Malaga will be hoping to record their 3rd straight victory in their first ever season in Europe’s biggest competition, after 3-0 wins over Zenit, and Anderlecht.
Milan are also unbeaten in this years competition, but were unconvincing in a 0-0 home draw with Anderlecht, before they nearly blew a 2-0 lead in Russia against Zenit st Petersburg.
Malaga without Jeremy Toulalan, and Sergio Sanchez, could also be without left back Nacho Monreal, who missed the 2-1 weekend win over Valladolid with back pain.
If he can’t make it, Eliseu will once again feature at left back, allowing Portillo to play on the left with either Recio, Duda or Iturra slotting into the centre of midfield alongside Isco, and Camacho.
Their opponents Milan have had a horrible start to the Serie A season, currently sitting 15th after 8 games, and 15 points behind leaders Juventus.
Their latest match a 3-2 loss against Lazio, led club vice president Adriano Galliani to order the players to take extra training sessions in order to sort out their form.
Once the club to beat in Italy, AC are now a shadow of their former self, and after losing key players Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Alessandro Nesta in the summer, they have been awful.
Defensively the team are all over the place with Bonera, and Yepes nowhere near good enough for the team so far, with Mexes rooted to the bench.
Two boosts for the club will be the return of striker Pato, and midfield general Massimo Ambrosini to the squad, the latter hugely important as they look to keep Isco quiet.
The biggest danger to Malaga, may be the youngster Stephan El Shaarawy, at 19 years old the winger is already a first team starter, and has netted 6 times in 10 games this season.
If Malaga play like they have been this season the Milan back line should be too fragile to handle the attacking talents of Isco, Portillo, Joaquin, and Saviola.
Win here and Malaga have one foot in the knockout stages of the Champions league, who would have thought it?
Possible line ups-
Caballero, Gamez, Weligton, Demichelis, Eliseu, Camacho, Duda, Isco, Portillo, Joaquin, Saviola
AC Milan- 4-3-1-2
Amelia, Abate, Bonera, Yepes, Antonini, De Jong, Montolivo, Ambrosini, Boateng, El Shaarawy, Pazzini
Key match ups-
El Shaarawy v Eliseu
If Monreal can’t make it, the job of keeping the young Italian quiet may fall to Eliseu, who will have to keep his attacking mentality to a minimun with the pacy winger set to be Milan’s main threat.
Isco v Ambrosini
Isco has been terrific all season, and controlled both of the previous champions league ties as well as most of the clubs league games.
Milan will bring back Ambrosini into the team, and the experienced midfielder will need to be at his best to keep ‘the next Iniesta’ quiet
Saviola v Bonera
Milan’s defence has been awful so far this season, and with Saviola’s link up play and pace they could be in for a long night, especially Bonera, who has been pin pointed as the weakest link.
- AC Milan have won only one of their previous 11 Champions league matches against Spanish sides (1w 5d 5L)
-Only Mesut Ozil and Joao Moutinho have created more chances in this years Champions league than Joaquin.
-Malaga have the best goal difference in this years competition (+6)
Malaga 2-1 Milan
-Michael Bell, twitter: @LaLigafooty