AEK v Milan background

Having pulled off a surprise by keeping AC Milan at bay at the San Siro, can AEK Athens now go one better by claiming a win that will take them above the Italian giants?

Milan defender Ricardo Rodríguez challenges Lazaros Christodoulopoulos of AEK
Milan defender Ricardo Rodríguez challenges Lazaros Christodoulopoulos of AEK ©AFP/Getty Images

Having thwarted UEFA Europa League Group D leaders AC Milan with a goalless draw at the San Siro on matchday three, second-placed AEK Athens will hope to provide an even bigger upset by replacing the Serie A giants at the top of the standings with a win in the Greek capital.

Previous meetings
• These teams met in the 1994/95 and 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stages, with Milan failing to score on either trip to Athens (0-0 and 0-1), though the Rossoneri won both their home games (2-1 and 3-0).

• Indeed, AEK have not lost any of their last six matches at home to Italian opposition, drawing five of them.

• AEK's record in 18 encounters with Serie A clubs is W2 D7 L9, with five of the seven most recent fixtures having ended with honours even.

• Milan's record in nine matches against Greek sides is W4 D4 L1, the sole defeat being the 1-0 loss at AEK in November 2006, decided by a Júlio César goal.

Form guide
• AEK are unbeaten in their last five games in Europe (W2 D3) – all in this season's UEFA Europa League.

• Milan had won all six of their European matches this season until AEK held them 0-0 last time out.

• Winners of Greece's end-of-season UEFA Champions League play-offs in 2016/17, AEK have had five previous UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, most recently in 2011/12. They have only made it into the round of 32 once, in 2007/08.

Highlights: Milan 0-0 AEK
Highlights: Milan 0-0 AEK

• Sixth in Italy last term, Milan are back in Europe after a four-year absence and making their first appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage. They reached the round of 32 in the last-ever UEFA Cup campaign of 2008/09.

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

• Milan's André Silva has scored four goals in this competition – one fewer than leading marksman Emiliano Rigoni of Zenit.

• 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.

• Suspended for next match if booked: André Simões and Livaja (AEK)

The coaches
• 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 ex-Spain international left-back has also coached Sevilla, Real Zaragoza and al-Rayyan.

• 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, the former Italian international has since coached Fiorentina and Sampdoria.