Preview: Slavia Praha vs Milan – Team News, Lineups & Prediction

Resurgent Milan head to Prague’s Fortuna Arena to finish the job and crash Slavia Praha out of the Europa League last-16. Stefano Pioli’s side seized an early numerical advantage to post a comprehensive 4-2 win in the first leg, putting one foot in the quarter-finals. 

However, Slavia showed resilience at Stadio San Siro, netting twice despite being reduced to ten men after only 26 minutes. El Hadji Diouf’s expulsion left last season’s Czech First League runners-up with a high hill to climb, but they refused to give up. 

Scoring on either side of halftime at least gives them a fighting chance in the return leg in front of their home crowd. More importantly, their brave performance in Italy proved they can hurt Milan, giving the Prague faithful a reason for optimism ahead of Thursday’s crunch encounter.

On the other hand, lapses of concentration in the first leg should serve as a stark reminder for Milan not to take this contest lightly. Pioli’s team will take this trip in a buoyant mood after Christian Pulisic’s first-half winner handed them a 1-0 home league win against Empoli on Sunday.

Juventus’ home draw against Atalanta saw Milan leapfrog the Turin powerhouse to second in the Serie A table. But that’s what they’ll probably have to settle for this season, as runaway leaders Inter still boast a substantial 16-point lead. 

It only increases the stakes here, forcing Milan to chase the only title missing from their glittering trophy cabinet. Otherwise, Rossoneri will end up empty-handed for the second season on the trot. 

Match Preview

Slavia Praha

Slavia must post a two-goal margin win to take this tie to extra time. While achieving that feat against a mighty Milan may sound overly optimistic, the Czech giants will likely give the Italians a run for their money. Adding to this sentiment, Jindrich Trpisovsky’s men defeated Rossoneri’s domestic rivals Roma 2-0 on home turf in this season’s Europa League group stages.

That victory was one of their five across six group-stage fixtures (L1), suggesting Slavia will not go down without a fight. Why would they when they boast a positive all-time record against Serie A visitors on home soil (W4, D2, L2)? But an ominous sign for the hosts is that they had gone winless in eight straight matches against Italian clubs before beating Roma (D3, L5).

Pulling off what appears to be a sci-fi comeback would see Slavia reach the quarter-finals of a European competition for the first time since 2020/21. Three triumphs in four competitive home outings in 2024 can only inspire more confidence within the Czech camp.


Despite holding a seemingly winning hand, Milan can’t afford to let their guard down until the ‘river card.’ They have failed to make it out of the Europa League last-16 in both previous appearances at this stage of the competition, highlighting the significance of approaching this showdown with extreme caution from the get-go.

Milan can draw confidence from racking up an eye-catching nine clean sheets across their last 13 games against Czech opponents. Pioli’s men have recently rediscovered their defensive solidity, as evidenced by back-to-back Serie A shutouts sandwiching a goal-glutted first-leg triumph. But there’s one massive downside.

The Italians have developed a habit of flopping on their continental travels. Except for a 2-1 win at Newcastle United in this season’s Champions League group stage finale, Milan have gone winless on six of their last seven away European matches (D3, L3). 

Team News

In addition to suspended Diouf, Slavia will be without star midfielder Lukas Masopust, Ondrej Kolar, Sheriff Sinyan, and David Pech. Question marks are still hovering over the heads of Christos Zafeiris and Petr Sevcik.

As for Milan, Tommaso Pobega is a long-term absentee, but he’s not the only player unavailable for selection. Alessandro Florenzi’s booking in the first leg rules him out for this contest. On the bright side, Rafael Leao returns to the fold after missing out on the Empoli game.

Slavia Praha vs Milan Potential Lineups

Slavia Praha (4-5-1): Jindrich Stanek; Ondrej Zmrzly, Tomas Holes, David Zima, Jan Boril; David Doudera, Conrad Wallem, Oscar Dorley, Lukas Provod, Vaclav Jurecka; Mojmir Chytil.

Milan (4-2-3-1): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Simon Kjaer, Matteo Gabbia, Theo Hernandez; Ismael Bennacer, Tijjani Reijnders; Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud.

Slavia Praha vs Milan Prediction

Though a victory is not imperative for Milan, Pioli’s men have been devastating on the counters this term. Since Slavia have no choice but to push forward in numbers, Rossoneri’s formidable frontline should have plenty of space to work their magic. As such, we expect the visitors to win here.

Prediction: Milan Win

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