Seedorf will rely heavily on star striker to make the difference.
With various injuries and suspensions making AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf’s task more complicated, here is a look at how the Rossoneri could line up when they face Atletico Madrid at San Siro on Wednesday night.
The Italian giants will have to make adjustments for the first leg, but their Dutch tactician isn’t set to waver from the 4-2-3-1 system which he insists will be successful despite some early criticisms of the tactical approach.
With Riccardo Montolivo and Sulley Muntari suspended, January acquisition Michael Essien will likely be fielded alongside Nigel De Jong to provide the protection in front of the defence.
The combative duo will be required to be at their best both defensively and in their ability to move Milan forward, although they will arguably be given the task of ensuring that the hosts remain compact and organised defensively to avoid leaving space between the lines.
Despite Adil Rami developing into a real leader at the heart of the defence, questions remain of his alternating defensive partners, with Daniele Bonera expected to be paired with him as Cristian Zapata is a doubt with injury.
The selection headaches continue further up-field as although Kaka should shake off an injury concern in time, Seedorf will likely place Andrea Poli in a more advanced role.
Given the absence of the cup-tied Keisuke Honda and Riccardo Saponara, as well as injured duo Robinho and Valter Birsa, it leaves Milan with just Kaka and Adel Taarabt as their options in the three-man attack supporting Mario Balotelli.
While Poli is more accustomed to playing in a more withdrawn role, his energy, drive and probing runs will likely be a threat to the visitors, while his tireless defensive work will also give Milan more solidity across the pitch.
Nevertheless, if the Rossoneri are aspiring to win this game, they will need Balotelli to influence proceedings and have a significant impact throughout.
Taarabt has instantly become a fans favourite with his direct running and trickery on the ball, but ‘Super Mario’ still has the quality to make the difference, a prime example of which arrived in the 1-0 win over Bologna last Friday.
While Giampaolo Pazzini could be an alternative to lead the line, the Italian international will likely come off the bench if required, and so it will up to Balotelli, Kaka and Taarabt to help Milan and Seedorf on the way to a commanding first leg advantage.
Expected Milan line-up against Atletico Madrid: