Juventus vs Bayern Munich: La Vecchia Signora squares off against die Roten

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www.eurosport.de

It’s going to be a clash of Italy vs. Germany as Serie A giants Juventus welcome Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich to Juventus Stadium on Tuesday evening.

The last meeting between La Vecchia Signora and die Roten was during the 2012/2013 season, in which Bayern defeated Antonio Conte’s then side 2-0 in Turin during the quarter-finals en route to winning the trophy that May. To date, Bayern Munich are the only non-Italian side to have beaten the Bianconeri in Turin. And Juve’s two defeats in their past 45 home matches in European competition have come at the hands of the Bavarian powerhouse.

Now under the guidance of Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus, who made it to their first final in 12 years last season, will face a tough test to get past Pep Guardiola’s side to book a quarter-finals berth. For starters, their six goals scored in the group stages are the fewest out of any of the 16 sides remaining in this competition. To illustrate this further, Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored seven, meaning that he alone has already out-scored the entire Juventus squad. Add in Thomas Muller’s five, and between the two men, they have combined for double of Juve’s group stage output.

Lewandowski has scored a whopping 22 goals in the Bundesliga, and 32 in all competitions. Add in Muller’s contributions, and now one has 56 goals across all competitions between the Polish and German internationals. Quite an intimidating stat for any team, but Juventus do boast one of the toughest defenses in Europe. In the Champions League group stages, they conceded just three goals and will be coming into this match having successfully kept eight consecutive clean sheets across all competitions; in fact, the last time they conceded a goal was on December 13th, when they had to fight their way back from a goal down against Fiorentina to win 3-1.

Both Allegri and Guardiola will have to make do without several key players. For the hosts, although Mario Mandzukic will be in the squad to face his former side, and his manager will be pleased to have the tall Croatian striker back as an attacking option, but star defender Giorgio Chiellini unfortunately has not recovered from his own injury and will not be fit to feature. Other absentees for Juventus include versatile midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah and new signing Alex Sandro. Meanwhile, Guardiola will be missing the services of defenders Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber, and Javi Martinez, who has deputized as a center-back on several occasions will also be unable to make the trip to Turin.

It will also be an interesting match for Arturo Vidal, who like Mandzukic will be facing his former team for the first time; the Chilean was an integral part of the squad that won four Scudetti and a Coppa Italia during his time in Turin.

Interestingly enough, both Juventus and Bayern have won nine out of their past ten games across all competitions. Although both sides have had good domestic campaigns to date, many have given the slight edge to die Roten, especially given that they have featured in five out of the past six semi-finals; by contrast, Juve’s participation in last season’s Champions League final was their first appearance in 12 years. Still, given La Vecchia Signora’s fantastic home record, expect this to be a closely contested affair in which fans will be entertained from kick-off till the final whistle.

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Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.