Ancelotti delight as Milan back on form for visit of Bayern

AC MILAN coach Carlo Ancelotti has warned Bayern Munich that his team is coming into form at just the right moment before tonight’s Champions League quarter-final at the San Siro.

The six-times European champions, who have failed to reach the last four only once in the past four seasons, have had an uneven season.

Though they lie fifth in Serie A, 35 points off the lead, Milan are the only one of last season’s Champions League quarter-finalists to reach the last eight this time round.

“So far we haven’t shown the same quality as we did in previous years, we’ve had our ups and downs, but that’s because we’ve had so many injuries,” Ancelotti said yesterday.

“We have got almost all of our players back. (Defender Alessandro) Nesta came back on Saturday, and from tomorrow — or very soon at least — (winger) Serginho and (defender Kakha) Kaladze will also be back.

Filippo Inzaghi is an extraordinary striker. He lives for these matches. He’s worked hard and is in good condition after the problems with his hamstrings. He will be important against the Germans.”

Ancelotti revealed he planned to play with two strikers, ditching the more conservative lone-striker formation he used to edge past Celtic in the previous round.

“(Alberto) Gilardino and Inzaghi are in form. It’s possible that they could play together,” he said.

Milan have a strong recent record against Bayern. They beat the German side home and away on their way to winning the Champions League title in 2003. They also put four goals past them at the San Siro to seal a 5-2 aggregate victory in the first knockout round of last season’s competition.

“We remember last year’s tie with pleasure, especially the game we played at home. We played a great match. We’re hoping to do the same tomorrow,” Ancelotti said.

“Bayern are a tough team to break down and they have improved a lot since December.

“The suspension of (goalkeeper Oliver) Kahn could weigh on them, as could that of (midfielder Mark) Van Bommel. But they are well organised with an excellent defence. It will be a difficult match.”

Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld warned his players that concentration could be key to their chances of progressing through to the last four.

He said: “Football is a team game and if we can be compact, and keep our concentration for the full 90 minutes, then we can come away with a good result.”

Hitzfeld regards a good result as one which keeps the tie alive for the second leg in Munich.

“I feel this tie will be decided by just one goal,” added the Bayern coach.

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