7 things that caught the eye in the UCL opener v AC Milan

A football festival of the highest quality

The day after a UEFA Champions League match always feels a special one with so much to discuss from the previous night. There is just so much going on that it is easy to miss a thing or two. We are therefore going to take another look at our Champions League opener v AC Milan …

#1 | Four debuts


With Amar Dedic, Dijon Kameri and Strahinja Pavlovic in the starting XI, as well as Lucas Gourna-Douath as a substitute, four Red Bulls made their UEFA Champions League debut yesterday. Dedic had a mammoth task in trying to keep Theo Hernandez and Rafael Leao quiet, but managed just that for almost the entire match, with Pavlovic coming to his aid when needed. Kameri was also plunged into the deep end with a start in the absence of Luka Sucic - and was coolness personified from the very start. Gourna-Douath picked up a yellow card straight after coming on but kept the tempo high in midfield. We are sure to get a lot more joy out of these four in future.

#2 | Noah Okafor the dribble master


Just how much confidence can you have against the Italian champions? Just ask Noah Okafor. With stepover after stepover and dribble after dribble, AC Milan had a nightmare on their hands. Pierre Kalulu had a particularly difficult evening, getting both nutmegged by the Swiss attacker as we took the lead and sent spinning to the ground. Okafor showed yet again that he is a man for important goals after firing us into the Champions League last 16 last season.

#3 | Another 1-1


In the afternoon our Young Bulls drew 1-1 against AC Milan in the UEFA Youth League and the big boys had the same result in the evening. It's a familiar result, as we also began our last UEFA Champions League campaign with a 1-1 draw. We were held at FC Sevilla back then in a game that saw four penalties and went on to make it out of the group stage to make the last 16.

#4 | Youth all over, aside from the captain


With an average age of close to 22, this year we are yet again the youngest team in the UEFA Champions League. Our captain Andreas Ulmer proved once again against AC Milan that he still has a full tank at the age of 36. The leader of our pack of bulls played superbly for the full 90 minutes, showing no sign of tiredness.

#5 |  Defying the injury gods


Matthias Jaissle and his coaching team planned it all so carefully yet had to rip them up shortly before kick-off when Max Wöber was ruled out with groin problems in the warm-up. The next change had to be made in the 42nd minute. Ouamar Solet sprinted back to try to stop Saelmaekers scoring, but got injured and was unable to continue. In the second half, it was Fernando's turn to leave the field after a great performance. Despite all the injury blows, our Red Bulls did not lose their composure, and continued to throw everything at the top opponents - we can be very proud of that!

#6 | When David rattles Goliath


Who would have thought of it - the two favourites in Group E, AC Milan and Chelsea, both failed to win on the first match day. While we went toe-to-toe with the Italian champions, Dinamo Zagreb pulled off a surprise 1-0 home win against Chelsea. Head coach Thomas Tuchel paid for the result with his job and will not be in charge of our meeting next week.

#7 | There is nothing like a full Red Bull Arena


When all 29,520 seats are full, we are a match for anyone. While last season we saw off Brondby, Sevilla, Lille, Wolfsburg and Bayern in Salzburg, it was AC Milan's turn to go home without a win. In total we are unbeaten in 36 competitive matches in our won ground! Our last defeat at the Red Bull Arena came back in February 2021 in the Europa League last 32 against Villarreal. We are looking forward now to our next big match in Salzburg - the Austrian Klassiker v Rapid Vienna, no less. Open ticket sales have already started - we are counting on your support!

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