Champions League Quarterfinals Fan Preview: Juventus
The quarter final Champions League draw was filled with an abundance of memories for the Old Lady. After last years final, Juventus is given a chance to redeem themselves by once again being matched up with Real Madrid.
No team has been able to knock out Madrid since Juventus successfully overcame them three years ago in the semi-finals. Madrid is expected to start as the favourites against the Old Lady due to last years 4-1 victory. It is no doubt that Madrid are expected to play a successful two legs, but Juventus are surely no walk in the park.
Juventus will be lined up to face the European giants with everything they have. In both legs of the quarters, it is imperative that Juve remain calm. After the loss in last years Champions League final, Juventus will have to prove their skill and patience, as they must remain calm and play their game. While Madrid are said to be the fan pick in both legs, Juventus was able to do what they could not – beat Tottenham.
The biggest threat to Juventus will be their loss of Miralem Pjanić and Medhi Benatia, as they are suspended. Both have been key to the success of Juventus and without them in the first leg, it will be rather interesting to see how Massimiliano Allegri will fill those holes. Reliant on that three-man midfield will appear rather difficult without the 27-year-old magician. With options such as Claudio Marchisio, Rodrigo Bentancur, and Stefano Sturaro, there is really no way of knowing who will take Miralem’s place.
Without the partnership of Giorgio Chiellini and Medhi Benatia, there is question as to who will be able to take on that position. Max Allegri has the option of either Andrea Barzagli or youngster Daniele Rugani. Both have proven themselves to be evident in these types of games, but the question of experience will most definitely factor into Allegri’s overall decision. This will most likely be the deciding aspect for both roles in the midfield and centre back roles.
Dynamic duo Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala will be watched carefully through both legs. Young superstar Paulo Dybala still has much to prove and the game against Madrid will do exactly that. It is time for the 24-year-old to step up and prove that he is one of the best in the world.
Juventus vice president Pavel Nedved expressed his views upon the talks of Higuain and Dybala: “Dybala and Higuain? They are two important players; they are doing well for Juventus. Speaking of Dyabla, I reiterate that it is up to him to make the history of Juventus and, if he wants, that of world football: lately I have seen him thriving and he is training very well.”
Not only do Real Madrid have a third consecutive Champions League trophy on the line, but legend Zinedine Zidane would also be the first ever coach to win three in a row. He is confident in the progress of Madrid and know what they’re coming up against.
“They’re looking strong at the moment, as they were last year. They’re very competitive. It will be a tough game, which is 50-50. We’ll see after the first leg. Juve were very important in my playing career; avoiding them would’ve been nice, but that’s what the draw has given us. I’m focused on the two legs and I’ll leave aside my ties with the club.”
After knocking out Tottenham in their own backyard, Juventus was able to prove the doubters wrong. Tottenham were seen as the favourites, especially after drawing Juve 2-2 in Turin. Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala proved how lethal their linkup can be, and managed to secure the 2-1 victory.
“It says a lot about the winning mentality (of Juventus), and their personality and experience to play these kind of matches,” said Madrid director Emilio Butragueno.
Juventus director Beppe Marotta assured that Juventus have nothing to fear upon the matchup with Real Madrid. While noted that they are the best in the world, Juve have the confidence they need to win.
“I think our meeting with Real Madrid is a little early, but we had to face them sooner or later. In my view, they are the best team in the world and we have the utmost respect for them, but absolutely no fear.”
Both Juventus and Real Madrid are coming into the quarter finals with determination, courage, and confidence. Juventus look to redeem themselves from last years final, while seeking the trophy not so far out of their reach. Real Madrid are aiming for their third consecutive Champions League trophy.
Both will go head to head on April 3rd for their first meeting, taking place at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. Kick off is set at 2:45 PM EST. Nothing is more anticipated than this matchup, as the two European giants are ready to go.
Writer: Julia Villa