Juventus vs Barcelona: Champions League Classic?
Champions League Matchday 5
Juventus vs Barcelona has all the makings of a Champions League classic. As a UEFA Champions League Group D fixture, Juventus will be looking to get a result from this fixture. The Old Lady could come under pressure from Sporting Club de Portugal as only three points separates the two teams. Sporting face Olympiakos in Portugal are likely to win the tie. However, Barcelona will also be looking for a result in order to secure qualification to the next round with a victory. The three points will see the men from Catalonia secure top spot in group D.
Juventus have been concrete at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. Unbeaten in Europe in 25 matches, a run that stretches back to April 2013. Juventus lost 3-2 to Sampdoria in their last Serie A fixture. They started without Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa as these two players came on late in the second half and helped Juventus pull back two goals. However, it was too little too late.
Barcelona has been impressive all season and has only conceded one goal this Champions League campaign. Unbeaten in 17 matches across all competitions (W15 D2), picking up 12 clean sheets, including a 3-0 win over Leganes on Saturday. These statistics and strong history of both clubs are what makes this fixture a spectacle, with the right ingredients for a classic Champions League clash.
Barcelona are still missing their highly rated star, Ousmane Dembele, as he makes his way back from a hamstring tear in September. He is set to return in December, in time for El Clasico. Other players missing through injury include André Gomes, Javier Mascherano, and Rafinha. Juventus have no injury concerns and can field who they chose. It will be interesting to see who starts in midfield for Juventus, as this may be key to securing victory in this tie.
Juventus (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Kwadwo Asamoah, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Daniele Rugani, Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanić, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandžukić, Douglas Costa and Gonzalo Higuaín.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Marc Ter Stegen, Nélson Semedo, Gerard Piqué, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba, Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Gerard Deulofeu, Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez.
Luis Suárez vs Giorgio Chiellini
The infamous rivalry includes Suárez biting Chiellini in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It will be an interesting clash. Not only will history play its part but the mere talent of both men. Suárez is yet to score this Champions League campaign and will find the going tough. Chiellini is one of the toughest and hardest working defenders in the world. With being Italian and naturally having a knack for defending, this is a key battle in this interesting feature.
The two Argentine wizards
Paulo Dybala and Lionel Messi are often compared to their similar style of play. They are still individuals with a repertoire of skills even if both hail from Argentina. Unlike Messi, Dybala has not yet shown his prolific goalscoring form into the Champions League. Dybala is yet to score or register an assist in this season of the competition. Messi has 3 goals and 1 assist in the 4 Champions League games this season. He will be looking to add to this tally in this tie to further his all-time scoring tally of 97 goals in Champions League. Both are very creative and it is up to Dybala to upstage his countrymen.
It would be hard to see Juventus lose and they will look to bounce back after their recent loss at the weekend. Barcelona will be pushing hard to finish in the top spot of the group and will look to dominate from the outset.
If Dybala can up his game and link up as well as he does for Serie A fixtures, Juventus will surely come out with the victory. The sheer pace Barcelona have upfront make them dangerous on the counter-attack. The midfield area will be one that Juventus will look to dominate or the likes of Iniesta and Rakitic will reek havoc.
A draw is certainly likely as both sides will look to outscore the other. However, Juventus have much more to play for and have their 25-match unbeaten European home record. Barcelona has not lost in a while so seeing them drop some points will be rare. Juventus might just edge this one by as little as 1 goal.
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