AC Milan vs Stade Rennais preview, team news, tickets & prediction

There is a battle of the Red and Blacks when Stade Rennais travels to Italy to take on AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League playoffs. 

AC Milan vs Stade Rennais

AC Milan begin their journey in this season’s Europa League with a first-ever meeting with Rennes for a spot in the Round of 16.

The Italian giants dropped down from the Champions League, finishing level on points with second-placed Paris Saint-Germain in the ‘Group of Death’ competition. 

After reaching the semi-final of last season’s UCL, Milan will set their sights on a deep run into the second-tier tournament. They sit nine points behind runaway Serie A leaders Inter Milan so that a continental triumph would cap off an eventful campaign.

Stefano Pioli’s side started their domestic season with three wins on the bounce but a 5-1 thrashing against their city rivals sent shockwaves across the Rossoneri faithful. They won the next four matches in Serie A until a 1-0 loss to Juventus at home.

Meanwhile, the European campaign had begun with goalless draws against Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund and a 3-0 defeat at PSG. Milan went winless in the next two league matches but secured their first victory on the continent at home to the Parisians. 

A defeat against Dortmund took a top-two spot out of their hands, but they still had a chance to enter the Europa League playoff round. This set up a Matchday 6 showdown against Newcastle, which lived up to its billing as Joelinton’s first-half goal was turned around by Christian Pulisic and Samuel Chukwueze to spark incredible scenes at St. James’ Park.

Milan have gone unbeaten in five Serie A games since as they build momentum into the new year. They are favourites against Rennes but must step up to the plate to avoid a huge upset. 

For Rennes, this is an opportunity to secure a massive scalp in a Europa League campaign that has seen them score 13 goals and concede only six.

Les Rouge et Noirs were unbeaten in their first five Ligue 1 matches of 2023-24, but four were draws. Elsewhere, there was a 3-0 win to kickstart the Europa League campaign against Maccabi Haifa. Still, Matchday 2 brought a slim defeat to Villarreal as they went on a three-game winless run, ending when they defeated Panathinaikos.

Rennes were victorious in the next two Europa League matches despite a five-match winless run that saw Bruno Genesio sacked and replaced by his predecessor, Julien Stéphan.

Yet, their runner-up place in Group F was confirmed with a 3-2 defeat to Villarreal on Matchday 6 that saw them finish a single point behind the Spaniards.

The Frenchmen go into the playoff round looking for consistent performances which they have so far built as they are undefeated in the last four domestic matches. They must be at their best against Milan who will have a considerable home crowd behind them.

It is pertinent that Rennes find a way to frustrate the fans and impose their game on the Italians while they aim to rise higher from their tenth position in Ligue 1. The Rennais are some way off their fourth-place finish from the 2022-23 season, and they will be desperate to rise the standings in the second half of the season while they retain a strong run on the continent. 

Match tickets

The first leg of this playoff match takes place on Thursday, February 15, 2024, with kick-off set for 8 PM UK time. Match tickets have been made available for sale on each club’s website and also via the UEFA channels.

The historic San Siro is the venue for this match and you can expect a magnificent atmosphere in the 80,000-capacity stadium, which should be sold out. Supporters may find match tickets hard to come by due to the decent fortunes of both teams so far in European competition.  

Travelling fans who need AC Milan vs Rennes tickets would be pleased to find some copies still available on a ticket resale site.

Team news

AC Milan is dealing with a considerable absentee list that includes the likes of Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, Malick Thiaw and Tommaso Pobega who are all injured and have huge doubts about playing in this game. Mattia Caldara and Alessandro Florenzi are also ruled out.

Meanwhile, Samuel Chukwueze and Ismael Bennacer are away on international duty.

Amine Gouiri is doubtful for Stade Rennais while Christopher Wooh is with the Cameroon squad but should be back for this Europa League match.


Milan is sweating on the fitness of several key players, especially in defence, and it remains to be seen if they would be fit enough to feature against Rennes. Simon Kjaer and Matteo Gabbia could continue their partnership at centreback, nevertheless.

Elsewhere, Christian Pulisic has been a bright spot in a frustrating season for the Rossoneri. His dynamism, alongside Olivier Giroud’s goalscoring prowess, would be essential to Milan’s hopes of reaching the Round of 16.

AC Milan: Maignan; Calabria, Kjaer, Gabbia, Hernández; Loftus-Cheek, Adli, Reijnders; Pulisic, Giroud, Leao

Julien Stéphan has a massive task on his hands to galvanize his team to a result against Milan, and he would do well to get a tune out of some underperforming players, including Arnaud Kalimuendo.

Rennes has a lot of improvement to do before travelling to Milan, and it is pertinent that players stake their claim in the remaining league matches leading up to the resumption of the Europa League.

Rennes: Mandanda; Doué, Wooh, Theate, Belocian, Truffert; Santamaria, Le Fée; Bourigeaud, Terrier, Kalimuendo 


Milan is are overwhelming favorite, given their European pedigree and better form this season. However, they still have a massive task of dispatching the Frenchmen who would be at their best. 

While Rennes are primarily out of form, the quality of firepower available to the Italians might be too much for their visitors who also have to contend with a raucous San Siro crowd. 

AC Milan 2-0 Rennes

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