After a long wait, the day has finally come. Tomorrow, AC Milan will play their first ever game in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, against Swiss side FC Zürich Frauen.
As we noted before, the tournament has new format and the rossonere were drawn with german Hoffenheim and Icelandic team Valur, besides Zürich, in a knockout-one venue-mini tournament for this first round of the League Path. All games, semifinal, final and third place match, will take place at the Letzigrund Stadium and the TSG Hoffenheim and Valur Reykjavik match will kick off before Milan and Zürich, at 14:00 CEST.
Only the winner of this mini tournament will advance to Round 2.
The rossoneri squad:
AC Milan have named their 22-players list for their UWCL debut:
Goalkeepers: Giuliani, Korenčiová, Cazzioli.
Defenders: Agard, Andersen, Árnadóttir, Codina Panedas, Fusetti, Kirschstein, Rizza, Tucceri Cimini.
Midfielders: Adami, Grimshaw, Jane, Vero.
Forwards: Bergamaschi, Cortesi, Giacinti, Longo, Miotto, Stapelfeldt, Thomas.
The road so far:
After the 2020/2021 season ended, the rossonere enjoyed some much-deserved vacation and got back to work later July. Since then, they had 4 pre-season friendly games where they draw against two league champions Servette and Gintra, who are also in the champions league, and one big club in Serie A, Sampdoria. The icing on the cake came at the Centro Deportivo Wanda Alcalá de Henares, when they beat Atletico Madrid 3-1, thanks to Giacinti and Thomas, with a brace.
Meanwhile, FC Zürich also played two friendly games in this pre-season, losing one and drawing the other. Last Thursday, August 12, they played the Swiss Super League matchday one, against Servette, at the same Letzigrund Stadium winning 2-1.
Keep an eye on:
Zürich’s headcoach Inka Grings played a classic 4-4-2 formation against Servette, with:
Peng; Megroz, Kiwic, Stierli, Fischer; Dubs, Moser, Vetterlein, Piubel; Terchoum, Humm (C).
They tend to explore the wider areas of the pitch, especially the right side, where Dubs, Andrade, their super-sub, Terchoum and the seasoned goalscorer Humm enjoy a quick pass exchange and long-range efforts from outside the box.
Fabienne Humm is the key player here. She finished the league last season with 19 goals to her name and is a real fox in the box.
Their weak spot, however, is their defense, particularly their lack of speed. Both centre-backs, Stierli and Kiwic are too slow to keep up with pacey strikers like Thomas or Giacinti and don’t have much talent with the ball on their feet. Their left fullback Fischer isn’t much of a talented player either.
Attention on the left side of the defense, quick transitions and trying to hurt the opponent with speed are the most effective ways for the rossonere to come out of this game with a good win and advance to the final.
Maurizio Ganz seems to be posed to switch, definitely, the playing system for this season. During the pre-season, the gaffer employed a 4-3-2-1 formation, fond to all milanisti as the classic Ancelotti’s Christmas tree. This might be the starting eleven for tomorrow’s game:
AC Milan: Giuliani; Andersen, Agard, Fusetti, Tucceri Cimini; Grimshaw, Jane, Vero; Stapelfeldt, Thomas; Giacinti.
Inka Grings is likely to deploy her best squad against the rossonere, echoing their starting eleven from their last game:
FC Zürich: Peng; Megroz, Kiwic, Stierli, Fischer; Dubs, Moser, Vetterlein, Piubel; Terchoum, Humm (C).
Where and When:
This extraordinary match will take place at the Letzigrund Stadium, in Zurich, and the kickoff time is set for 20:00 CEST. Unfortunately, there will be no public attendance, though the fans will be able to watch it on Milan TV, the official AC Milan app and on the FCZ website or via in this link.