The 2017 edition of the International Champions Cup gets under way on Tuesday when Serie A giants AC Milan meet Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund in Guangzhou’s Tianhe Stadium.
Former Ajax boss Peter Bosz has replaced Thomas Tuchel in the Dortmund dugout and the Dutch coach will pit his wits against Vincenzo Montella as both sides prepare for the upcoming season.
Teams from across Europe’s top leagues will compete the friendly tournament, with games taking place in the United States and Singapore as well as China during the remainder of July.
|Game||AC Milan vs Borussia Dortmund|
|Date||Tuesday, July 18|
|Time||19:20 (local) / 12:20 BST|
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
In the United Kingdom, the match will be available to watch live on television on Premier Sports and by stream via the Premier Player app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Premier Sports||Premier Player|
Fans in the United States can watch live on ESPN U or stream using WatchESPN. The game can also be watched in Spanish on ESPN Deportes.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
AC Milan’s transfer activity this summer has forced the rest of Europe to sit up and take notice as the Rossoneri attempt to construct a squad capable of rivalling Juventus for the Scudetto.
New signings Franck Kessie, Mateo Musacchio, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ricardo Rodriguez and Fabio Borini are all expected to be in Vincenzo Montella’s matchday panel after featuring in last week’s 4-0 win over Lugano in Switzerland.
The capture of Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus was a real statement of intent, but, while the Italy international is expected to be in China for the game, he is not likely to play. Similarly, Andrea Conti, Lucas Biglia and Andre Silva will arrive in China with the team, but they will not feature against Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund have brought a full squad with them to China and have already gotten their pre-season preparations under way with games against Rot-Weiss Essen and Urawa Reds.
Highly sought-after striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in line to feature despite speculation linking him with a move away from the club. The Gabon international featured in the last two friendlies, scoring in the 3-2 defeat against Rot-Weiss Essen.
In a welcome boost, Mario Gotze is part of Bosz’s plans having made his first appearance since February in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Urawa Reds, while new signing Omer Toprak is settling in well beside Marc Bartra in defence.
However, one player who won’t be involved is Marco Reus, who is still recovering from tearing his knee ligaments in May.
Borussia Dortmund are 6/5 favourites to win the opener, according to dabblebet, while Milan are 21/10 to defeat the Germans. A draw is given at 5/2.
The International Champions Cup is the perfect opportunity for Montella to see his new signings in action against top quality opposition and the former Italy international should learn a lot from the experience.
Considering the amount of money the new owners have pumped into the club this summer, the pressure is on the Rossoneri coach to deliver and he will discover whether his squad have what it takes to mount a serious challenge to Juventus’ Serie A crown.
For the Milan fans, the ICC will give them a glimpse of what is in store this season and there is a keen sense of intrigue surrounding the likes of Kessie, Calhanoglu and Conti, who were all on the radar of a host of European clubs.
Just as Montella must adjust to a spate of new faces arriving at San Siro this summer, new Dortmund coach Bosz also needs to familiarise himself with a fresh squad of players after his arrival from Ajax.
The 53-year-old guided the Dutch side to the final of the Europa League last season and will be expected to improve the fortunes of Dortmund, who fell further behind arch rivals Bayern Munich last season, finishing third behind RB Leipzig.
While uncertainty swirls around the future of star striker Aubameyang, Bosz will be counting on the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Andre Schurrle and the returning Gotze to step up to the plate.