In one of the tightest qualifying groups, Milan go into their final Group E game leading the section but level on points with second-placed Schalke, and only one ahead of PSV Eindhoven, who will steal one of the top two spots if they win at home to Fenerbahce.
Despite the possibility of being knocked out of the competition, Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti believes his team have little to fear.
“In the past three years in Europe, nobody has played as well as us and we intend to take that experience with us into the game,” he said.
Milan are sure to progress if they win or draw by 2-2 or less.
Ancelotti’s main concern tonight is the fitness of captain Paolo Maldini, who missed the second half of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Chievo after straining his left thigh and must undergo a late fitness test.
However, better news for Milan comes with the return from suspension of defender Jaap Stam.
Milan and Schalke drew 2-2 on Matchday 2 and Ancelotti said that Schalke demonstrated some similarities to his own side.
“Their attacking style is similar to ours as they play with two strikers, but they will have the added pressure of having to play away from home,” said Ancelotti.
Ralf Rangnick’s Schalke require either a high-scoring draw or a win – if they are to force their way into the first knockout round.
“We are going to play to win because we can’t count on the result in Eindhoven,” said the coach, who hopes to have Marcelo Bordon fit for tonight’s encounter.
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