In a tight Group F AC Milan need to pick up another victory against Dudelange, who are still without a point.
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With just one point separating the top three clubs in UEFA Europa League Group F, AC Milan know that victory at home to bottom-of-the-table Dudelange is a must if they are to put themselves into a position of strength going into matchday six. The group stage debutants from Luxembourg are still seeking their first point after four successive defeats.
• After opening their campaign with two wins, the second of them at San Siro against Olympiacos (3-1), Milan came unstuck at home to Betis (1-2) before coming from behind to draw 1-1 with the Spanish club in Seville. A win against Dudelange would put them into either first or second place with one game to go.
• Dudelange are one of three teams in the competition yet to register a point, but they did finally score their first group stage goal on matchday four, Danel Sinani providing a consolation effort in a 5-1 defeat at Olympiacos that confirmed the team’s elimination.
• The clubs had never met prior to Milan's 1-0 win in Luxembourg on matchday one, Dudelange's first encounter with Italian opposition.
• Milan have now played seven matches against clubs from Luxembourg, winning them all, but their margins of victory have gradually decreased since their first encounter, an 8-0 home success in the opening round of their triumphant 1962/63 European Cup campaign against US Luxembourg in which José Altafini scored five goals. He also scored a hat-trick in the 6-0 return leg and ended the competition with a record-breaking tally of 14 after striking two more in the final, won 2-1 against Benfica at Wembley.
• A sixth-placed finish in Serie A last term earned Milan an automatic UEFA Europa League group stage berth. They also reached the final of the Coppa Italia, where they were beaten 4-0 by champions Juventus.
• The Rossoneri ended a three-season absence from Europe last term by playing 14 matches in the UEFA Europa League, going from the third qualifying round to the last 16, where they lost home and away to Arsenal. It was the club's debut in this competition, their previous five European participations from 2009/10 to 2013/14 having been in the UEFA Champions League – all of which extended into that competition's knockout phase.
• Milan's home record in the past two UEFA Europa League campaigns is W6 D1 L2, although the two defeats have come in their last three matches – to Arsenal (0-2) and Betis.
• The premier force in Luxembourg since the turn of the millennium, Dudelange won their 14th national championship last season, completing a hat-trick of titles. They narrowly lost this season's UEFA Champions League first qualifying round tie against Hungary's Vidi but made historic amends by subsequently overcoming Drita, Legia Warszawa and, in the play-offs, CFR Cluj to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Dudelange's previous best European performance came in 2012/13, when they reached the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round before falling to Hapoel Tel-Aviv in the UEFA Europa League play-offs (1-3 home, 0-4 away).
• Dudelange won two successive away games in the qualifying phase – 2-1 at Legia and 3-2 at Cluj – but leading into this season they had lost eight games on the trot outside Luxembourg, the last six without scoring. They have conceded eight goals in their two group away fixtures.
Links and trivia
• Dudelange's experienced Serbian international defender Milan Biševac spent the second half of 2015/16 in Italy on loan at Lazio, featuring from start to finish in a 1-1 draw against the Rossoneri. Current Milan midfielder Lucas Biglia was his Lazio team-mate at the time and also played in that Serie A game.
• Dudelange are one of five clubs playing in the UEFA Europe League proper for the first time this season – and the very first from Luxembourg, which is the 39th nation to be represented in the competition's group stage.
• Gennaro Gattuso replaced Vincenzo Montella as Milan coach on 27 November 2017, earning promotion from the youth team. A legendary Rossoneri midfielder of grit and endeavour who played for the club from 1999 to 2012, racking up 468 appearances in all competitions, he won both Serie A and the UEFA Champions League twice and also lifted the FIFA World Cup with Italy in 2006. He led Milan to a sixth-place Serie A finish in 2017/18.
• The son of Klaus Toppmöller, the coach who led Bayer Leverkusen to the 2002 UEFA Champions League final, Dino had a lengthy career in Germany's lower leagues before ending it as a player-coach with Luxembourg side Hamm Benfica. Having steered the club to promotion, he joined Dudelange in 2016 and promptly won the Luxembourg double, adding a second league title in 2017/18 and then defying the odds to mastermind a landmark qualification for the UEFA Europa League group stage.