AC Milan vs RB Salzburg: Champions League Preview & Potential Line-ups

AC Milan and RB Salzburg are set to meet each other in a 'winner takes all' Champions League Group E clash at the Stadio San Siro on Wednesday.

On seven points after five matches, the reigning Serie A champions harbor a slender one-point lead over the third-placed Austrians and are in a prime position to claim a coveted runner-up finish.

Stefano Pioli's men are 90 minutes away from reaching the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since 2013/14, making this arguably their most significant match of the season.

Inspired by Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud, Milan humbled Group E minnows Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 on the road last week to seize control of the second place behind runaway group winners Chelsea. 

But the Italians would be well advised to avoid resting on their laurels as visiting Salzburg aim to qualify for the Champions League round of 16 for the second season in a row.

Matthias Jaissle's men have taken no time bouncing back from last week's morale-crippling 2-1 home defeat to Chelsea as they squeezed past Hartberg 1-0 over the weekend.

After maintaining a two-point cushion at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga standings, Die Roten Bullen can now focus on upsetting the odds in Lombardia. 

Match Preview

AC Milan

There's no room for complacency in the Milan camp if they're to achieve a long-term goal and return to the Champions League knockouts after almost a decade.

Pioli's side thumped Zagreb in the previous round and can win back-to-back matches in a single Champions League season for the first time since October 2011.

In addition to going unbeaten in all three European meetings with Salzburg (W2, D1), they've only lost once in their 12 encounters against Austrian opposition overall (W8, D3).

Therefore, there's plenty of reason for optimism among the San Siro faithful despite a sub-par 2-1 Serie A defeat away to Torino on Sunday evening. 

RB Salzburg

Visiting Salzburg face a Herculean task to edge Milan to a coveted second-place finish, as they have to knock the Rossoneri down from an eight-game undefeated European streak against Austrian clubs (W6, D2).

On top of that, the perennial Austrian champions have to defy a disastrous six-match winless away run in the Champions League (D3, L3) to secure progression into the round of 16.

Not everything is doom and gloom for Salzburg, though, given that they'll take the field in high spirits off the back of an eye-catching nine-game unbeaten streak across all competitions (W7, D2). 

AC Milan vs Red Bull Salzburg Potential Line-ups

AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Ciprian Tatarusanu; Pierre Kalulu, Tomori, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernandez; Sandro Tonali, Ismael Bennacer; Ante Rebic, Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud. 

Red Bull Salzburg (4-1-3-2): Philipp Kohn; Amar Dedic, Strahinja Pavlovic, Maximilian Wober, Andreas Ulmer; Lucas Gourna-Douath; Nicolas Seiwald, Luka Sucic, Maurits Kjaergaard; Noah Okafor, Benjamin Sesko.