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AC Milan vs. Celtic: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

TURIN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 14:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan scores his goal from the penalty spot during the Serie A match between Torino FC and AC Milan at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on September 14, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
Steven CookContributor IIISeptember 18, 2013

The group stage of the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League kicks off this week, and no matchup brings more tradition than AC Milan vs. Celtic on Wednesday. 

Celtic enjoyed a share of success in last year's Champions League campaign, advancing past the group stage and into the knockout rounds before going down to Juventus. Their highlight of the season was beating Barcelona in Group G and finishing just below them in the final standings.

The Scottish champs are also rolling as of late, winning four of their last five matches with the fifth being a draw. 

Meanwhile, Milan was knocked out in the same round a year ago by Barcelona after finishing second in their respective group.

Let's break down everything you need to know for Wednesday's Champions League affair.

 

WhenWednesday, Sept. 18 at 2:45 p.m. ET

Where: San Siro Stadium, Milan, Italy

Watch: FOX Sports Net, FoxSoccer2Go, Sky Sports Red Button (UK)

Odds: AC Milan (63.8 percent)Celtic (12.9 percent), draw (23.3 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports

 

Key Storylines

Milan did well to bolster their squad over the offseason and retain some young talent, but injuries look to significantly damage their starting 11 heading into the Champions League group stage opener.

New signing Kaka is out with a hamstring injury that will keep him off the pitch for a month, per Scottish Daily Record

Perhaps more detrimental are the losses of stud young forward Stephen El Shaarawy and experienced midfielder Riccardo Montolivo, who will also miss the match according to Goal.com.

And the pain doesn't stop there for AC fans. Starting defender Ignazio Abate and youngster Mattia De Sciglio will also be on the sidelines with nagging injuries.

How Milan are able to make it without a heap of their notable players will be one of the telling factors in this match. If they can't figure out a way to replace the talent and lean on guys like Mario Balotelli for goals, they could be in for an upset loss.

One of Celtic's objectives going in is to unsettle that very player who is endlessly valuable to his injury-plagued club. According to Daily Mail, some notable former players pointed out the best way to minimize Balotelli's influence is to get in his head. 

Balotelli has been one to lose his temper in his career—three yellow cards and three goals in his last five matches don't do that justice—but if he can keep his head on straight, Celtic better hope he doesn't get space in the penalty area.

 

Prediction

Celtic boast a squad that is a tough draw for anyone when they play on their home field, but that's simply not the case on Wednesday and that makes a load of difference.

However, Milan are struggling with this injury problem and it may be too much to ask for Balotelli to right the ship on his own.

Expect both Milan and Celtic to show how hungry they truly are for qualifying spots in this group, but that won't result in a victor.

Milan 1, Celtic 1

 

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