Milan v AEK Athens background

AC Milan have cut quite a dash in their opening Group D games, and will look to make it three high-scoring wins from three as AEK Athens return to San Siro.

Patrick Cutrone celebrates the winner against Rijeka on matchday two
Patrick Cutrone celebrates the winner against Rijeka on matchday two ©AFP/Getty Images

AC Milan have cut quite a dash in their opening UEFA Europa League Group D games, and will look to make it three high-scoring wins from three as AEK Athens, second in the section on four points, return to San Siro.

Previous meetings
• These teams met in the 1994/95 and 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stages; Milan won both of their home games (2-1 and 3-0) but failed to score in two trips to Athens (0-0 and 0-1).

• Milan's record in eight matches against Greek sides is W4 D3 L1 – that sole defeat being the 1-0 at AEK in November 2006, decided by a Júlio César goal.

• AEK's record in 17 encounters with Serie A clubs is W2 D6 L9, though four of the six most recent fixtures ended in draws.

Highlights: Milan 3-2 Rijeka
Highlights: Milan 3-2 Rijeka

Form guide
• Milan have won all six of their European games this season.

• AEK are unbeaten in their last four matches in Europe (W2 D2).

• Sixth in Italy last term, Milan are making their first appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage since reaching the round of 32 in the last-ever UEFA Cup campaign of 2008/09.

• Winners of Greece's end-of-season UEFA Champions League play-offs, AEK have had five previous UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, most recently 2011/12. They have only once got to the round of 32, in 2007/08.

Highlights: AEK 2-2 Austria Wien
Highlights: AEK 2-2 Austria Wien

Trivia and links
• The journey from Athens to Milan is around 1,500km.

• Milan, Nice and Zenit are the group stage's leading scorers with eight goals each – an average of four a game. Milan's André Silva, Nice's Alassane Pléa and Zenit's Aleksandr Kokorin share top spot in the individual chart with four apiece.

• Milan goalkeeper Antonio Donnarumma played in Greece last season with Asteras Tripolis.

• Several AEK players have played for Italian clubs:
Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Bologna 2013–14, Verona 2014–15, Sampdoria 2015–16)
Uroš Ćosić (Pescara 2012–15, Empoli 2015–17)
Panagiotis Kone (Brescia 2010–11, Bologna 2011–14, Udinese 2014–15, Fiorentina 2016)
Marko Livaja (Inter 2011–13, Cesena 2011–12, Atalanta 2013–14, Empoli 2015–16)

• Livaja and Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura were team-mates at Atalanta.

• Kone and Milan's Nikola Kalinić played together at Fiorentina.

• This is the only major UEFA competition the Rossoneri have not won. Only Ajax, Bayern München, Chelsea, Juventus and – as of last May – Manchester United have won the European Cup/UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League and European Cup Winners' Cup.

The coaches
• In charge since June 2016, Vincenzo Montella has led Milan back into Europe for the first time since 2013/14. A Serie A winner as a striker with Roma in 2000/01, he has since coached Fiorentina and Sampdoria.

• Manolo Jiménez returned for a second spell as AEK coach in January 2017, having guided the club to 2010/11 Greek Cup glory during his first stint. The former Sevilla left-back has also coached Sevilla, Real Zaragoza and al-Rayyan.

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