Schalke, who host last season’s runners-up Milan, began their campaign with a 1-0 defeat at PSV Eindhoven, and a second loss would leave Schalke in a precarious position, but general manager Rudi Assauer is optimistic about their chances.

“Don’t get me wrong but I have always said the match against Milan is the easiest one for us,” he said.

“We are outsiders despite being at home and therefore the team have absolutely nothing to lose. Form beats class in football and we hope that our form is good enough to beat Milan’s class.”

Coach Ralf Rangnick wants his side to reproduce the form they showed in the 2-0 win over Hannover 96 on Saturday

“The match against Hannover showed us exactly the way we have to play and I am sure the special Champions League atmosphere will help us raise our game even more,” he said. “We can give Milan a run for their money if we manage to improve by ten or 20 per cent.”

“I don’t think we can afford to sit back and wait as we have done at times this season,” he added. “Milan have too much individual class for that. We must take the initiative and keep them busy.”

Rangnick will have striker Ebbe Sand available after the Danish international recovered from a back problem.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti is relishing tonight’s encounter.

“We are looking forward to an exciting contest, a beautiful stadium and a great atmosphere,” he said.

“Hopefully we can play the game we are best at and make it a typical away game for Milan.”

“We have obviously had Schalke watched. They have found their form and they are a very competitive side – I hold them in the highest esteem,” said Ancelotti, who could welcome back Massimo Ambrosini after a muscle injury.