The next stop on the road to Munich is one of the temples of football, nothing less than the San Siro. AC Milan and Barça face each other in the first leg of the Champions League quarter finals – undoubtedly the most enthralling of all the games being played in this round. After all, we are talking about two clubs that have eleven European Cup titles between them.

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The ‘rossoneri’ and ‘blaugrana’ know each other only too well, for they already crossed paths in the group stages of this same competition. The sides drew 2-2 at the Camp Nou, but then Barcelona won 3-2 at the San Siro, a game that ensured they topped the group.

Barça risked everything that night and played with just three defenders, just like they did in the last game against Mallorca. But the Catalans have yet to take such an ambitious risk in a knockout match. However, with only four first team defenders available, namely Alves, Piqué, the repositioned Mascherano and Puyol, it may well be the best option, with the latter being an option to play at left back given the absences of both Abidal and Adriano.

Top form

Both sides are coming into the game on the best form they could wish for. Barça have just won nine games out of nine, with Leo Messi scoring an incredible 18 goals in the process. And comparison will surely be made tonight between the Argentinian and his former Barcelona teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has just scored 7 goals in 4 games for his current club.

Serie A champions and leaders AC Milan, managed by Massimiliano Allegri, also have to deal with missing players, and likewise in defence. Centre back Thiago Silva was the latest player discounted through injury, while former FC Barcelona man Van Bommel also misses the game through suspension.

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