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Juventus v Bayern Munich
Champions League Match Preview, Prediction & Head to Head
Two of the great names in European football meet in Turin on Tuesday evening as Juventus host Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16.
JUVENTUS LOOKING TO GO ONE BETTER THAN LAST YEAR
Juventus gave Barcelona the fright of their lives in last year’s Champions League Final in Berlin, now Massimo Allegri’s side have set their sights on lifting the trophy for a third time in Milan in May and you write them off at your peril. Last Friday’s 0-0 draw in Bologna brought to an end their 15 game winning run in Serie A, but the Bianconeri have always had their eye on the visit of the Bundesliga champions and they fancy their chances of progression to the quarter-finals. It’s now 20 years since the Old Lady got their hands on European football’s top prize, that’s too long in the eyes of their fanatical supporters. Last year they came close, very close to upsetting the form book against Barcelona in the final, now Allegri’s side are at the top of their game and with current odds of *26.00 on the best football betting sites to lift the trophy in May, this may be the time to take a punt.
BAYERN LOOKING FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TITLE NUMBER SIX
Alongside Barcelona, Bayern Munich (five-time previous winners) is the other stand-out favourite to lift the Champions League this season. Coach Pep Guardiola has an obsession with this competition having won it once as a player and twice as a coach with Barcelona, now he wants to give the Bavarian giants the best parting gift of all before moving to England this summer. A comfortable win away to Darmstadt at the weekend, in which many first-team stars were rested, means the defence of their Bundesliga title remains firmly on track, now comes their biggest game of the season at the J Stadium on Tuesday. Their last visit to Italy in this competition grabbed all the headlines after they demolished AS Roma 7-1 at the Stadio Olimpico in last season’s competition, and whilst Guardiola is sensible enough to know that lightening of this kind is unlikely to strike twice, he will trust his supremely talented group of players to see off the challenge of last year’s beaten finalists.
Juventus are without their inspirational defender Giorgio Chiellini due to a calf injury. This leaves Allegri with a decision as to whether to go with four at the back rather than his customary three, as his side aims to keep a tenth successive clean sheet in all competitions. Martin Caceres is out for the season with an Achilles tendon injury with Alex Sandro also sidelined with a thigh strain. Argentine striker Paulo Dybala will return to the starting XI after spending most of last Friday on the bench and there could be a return to the squad for big Croatian front man Mario Mandzukic, who’s been out injured since the 27th of January.
Bayern Munich also has injuries to key personnel with defender Jerome Boateng out long-term with a groin injury. Holger Badstuber is out for the season after fracturing his ankle in training, with Javi Martinez also missing the trip to Turin. Mario Goetze and Medhi Benatia are still making their way back to full fitness. There was good news for Guardiola at the weekend, as French midfielder Franck Ribery returned to action for the first-time since December of last year, but he is unlikely to figure on Tuesday. Polish striker Robert Lewandowski will once again lead the line and will be looking to add to his 40 goals in 37 appearances for club and country this season; the best sports betting sites currently price him at *2.50 to be an anytime scorer on Tuesday.
THE TEAMS FOR TURIN
Juventus (from) Buffon, Neto, Barzagli, Bonucci, Rugani, Evra, Lichtsteiner, Khedira, Marchisio, Pogba, Hernanes, Asamoah, Sturaro, Pereyra, Zaza, Dybala, Mandzukic, Morata, Cuadrado
Bayern Munich (from) Neuer, Starke, Ulreich, Rossi, Hundertmark, Rafinha, Bernat, Lahm, Alaba, Friedl, Scholl, Alcantara, Ribery, Costa, Xabi Alonso, Rode, Vidal, Coman, Dorsch, Kimmich, Weihrauch, Green, Benko, Lewandowski, Robben, Muller, Steeven Ribéry, Pantovic
HEAD TO HEAD
The two teams have met eight times previously in this competition with Bayern holding the upper hand by four wins to three. Their last meeting was in 2013 at the quarter-final stage, with the German side winning both legs 2-0 before going onto to lift the trophy. Juve’s record against German opposition reads **P49 W25 D9 L15, whilst Bayern’s overall summary against Italian sides reads** P39 W16 D8 L15. Juventus have only lost twice in their last 45 home European fixtures; both of those defeats were to Bayern Munich.
Juventus 3.00 Draw 3.20 Bayern Munich 2.62
*odds courtesy of Bet365
**Key to symbols: P (Played) W (Won) D (Drawn) L (Lost)
By: Steve Mitchell