Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Vienna, Austria
Key Stat: Austria Vienna haven't made it out of the group stage of a competition since the 2004/05 season in the UEFA Cup when they reached the quarter-finals.
Expert Verdict: Here is where the season starts to get tricky for AC Milan. Last month, matches against Shkendija would have been seen as great preseason matches. But now that the season has started, they are going to be forced to balance their league play with this tournament. That's a difficult task for them, as they want to be good here without sacrificing players for bigger league matches. After Sunday's debacle, there is a very really need to make sure they win and erase all fears that this is going to go south like it's been for the last few years. They should be able to do that.
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Thorsten Fink will be missing goalkeeper Robert Almer, defensive midfielders Tarkan Serbest, center midfielders Vesel Demaku, attacking midfielders Alexander Grunwald, and winger Lucas Venuto due to injuries.
Center midfielder Raphael Holzhauser has been the man pulling the strings all season long for Austria Vienna so far. The 24 year old captain has three assists and two goals to lead both categories in just six Austrian Bundesliga matches.
Austria Vienna have just one loss in official competitions so far, and that was a 0-1 reverse to Osijek in the playoff round that saw them advance on away goals anyway. They most recently drew, however, on Saturday at home with Wolfsberger 2-2.
Defenders:Klein, Westermann, Kardiri Mohammed, Martschinko
Midfielders:Holzhauser, Lee, Prokop
Forwards:Tajouri, Pires, Friesenbichler
Vincenzo Montella will be missing right back Andrea Conti here due to an ankle injury. Outside of that, he has no injuries but will likely rotate after the drubbing they took at the weekend.
After signing from Fiorentina before the close of the transfer window, Nikola Kalinic will be eager to impress and win his place in the side. He's so far played just 46 minutes, but now could be his chance to strike and grab a more regular place after his rivals found to find the back of the net on Sunday.
AC Milan had rattled off four straight wins across Serie A and the Europa League, but they were humbled on Sunday when they fell to Lazio in Rome by a score of 4-1.
Defenders:Abate, Romagnoli, Zapata, Antonelli
Midfielders:Locatelli, Kessie, Montolivo
Forwards:Suso, Borini, Kalinic
Austria Vienna will face AC Milan for the first time on Thursday night in this group stage match.
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Austria Vienna are at 11/2 to win, a draw is at 7/2, and an AC Milan win is at 9/20.
Austria Vienna are big underdogs in this match, and it is easy to see why. They have not made it out of a group stage in quite a long time, and while Milan are still working on climbing back up the ladder they do have a ton of quality.
Their second-string side, which is expected to play is worth far more than anything Vienna can put on the pitch, so it's not a surprise to see Milan given the edge in a very real way.
Austria Vienna's record against Italian clubs is not good, with them winning just one time from 12 attempts over the years. Meanwhile, AC Milan have only lost one out of nine meetings with Austrian teams in the past.
To make matters worse, Vienna have not won any of their last five European home matches.
AC Milan -1 handicap is at 5/4.
AC Milan get off to a good start in the Europa League group stages with a solid win.
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