Two of the biggest continental powerhouses that Europe can offer lock horns in Turin in midweek, as Serie A holders Juventus clash with Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona side in Group G of the UEFA Champions League. Will Lancaster offers his betting tips and predictions for Wednesday’s clash.
Who is playing?
Juventus vs Barcelona
What competition is it?
UEFA Champions League Group G
What time is Juventus vs Barcelona?
20:00 GMT, Wednesday 28th October 2020
Which stadium is hosting Juventus vs Barcelona?
Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy
What channel is Juventus vs Barcelona on?
BT Sport 3
Juventus vs Barcelona Summary
Although they are constantly billed as one of the biggest sides in the world, Juventus have remarkably had to wait almost twenty-five years for glory in Europe’s elite club competition. Despite being by far the biggest club in Italy since the turn of the 21st Century, they have failed to capitalise on this national dominance by turning themselves into a strong European outfit.
On reflection of this, it is quite a shock to see them ranked as only Italy’s third best side in terms of European success behind the Milan clubs. The Turin-based side have only won two European cups in their rich history – which is the same amount of European Cups as Nottingham Forest.
On paper, their task looks hard as they come up against Barcelona; the club from Catalonia, who have become synonymous with lifting the trophy this century with four wins in the last fourteen years. Having won all the trophies under the sun in the Pep Guardiola era, Barcelona’s board envisaged themselves maintaining their global status for years to come; however, things aren’t looking too rosy on the pitch at the moment – and with managerial changes galore, coupled with their superstar Lionel Messi wanting out, Juventus will look to take a front seat in Group G with a win over the ‘crisis club’.
Juventus Team News and Form
‘La Vecchia Signora’ come into this game in poor form themselves, having only taken two points from Hellas Verona and newly promoted Crotone in their last two league games. These are two games that Juve usually dominate, and the black and white side will be disappointed to have not taken maximum points from games. Andrea Pirlo’s men are four points off the summit of the table already after just five league games; and with tricky ties against Lazio and bitter rivals Torino coming up, they must pick up the pace against Barcelona to give them a kick-start to an already mundane season.
Their last European adventure ended in heartbreak against French underdogs Lyon; having lost 1-0 in the away leg at the Groupama Stadium, the Ligue 1 outfit scored an early away goal to give the Italians a mountain to climb in the last sixteen- and despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s best efforts to salvage a comeback with a brace, Juventus eventually fell victim to the away goals rule in Turin.
It has been four years since Italy’s most decorated club even progressed past the quarter-final stage, where they played Real Madrid in the final in 2017; and La Zebre will look to decimate this hoodoo against Europe’s biggest clubs on Wednesday evening.
Star player Cristiano Ronaldo could miss out against Barcelona; the superstar would love to carry on his excellent record against Barcelona, having scored 18 goals in 30 games in the ‘El Clasico’ derby for Real Madrid before his move to Italy. Elsewhere, Juventus are having a defensive injury crisis; veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini picked up an injury last week against Dynamo Kiev, whilst golden boy Matthijs de Ligt and wing-back Alex Sandro continue their spells on the treatment table with shoulder and hamstring injuries, respectively.
Barcelona Team News and Form
If you thought Juve’s form was bad, “Barca” haven’t been at the races for even longer than their Italian counterparts. After suffering a soul-crushing 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich on their last European outing – the first time they’d conceded eight goals in a game since 1946 – they sacked manager Quique Setien, and replaced him with the lacklustre appointment of Ronald Koeman.
The Dutchman hasn’t had the best of starts to life in the Catalan capital; Barcelona sit in 12th position in the league, having won just two of their five games up to press. Following an uninspiring 1-0 defeat at Getafe, the Camp Nou outfit endured an embarrassing 3-1 derby defeat at home to rivals Real Madrid at the weekend to put doubt in the minds of fans about Koeman’s time at the helm.
However, they will take inspiration from their only European game of the season up to press, which resulted in a convincing 5-1 win over Hungarian minnows Ferencvaros last time out at home. Youngsters Ansu Fati, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele all ended up on the scoresheet last week, although the result was marred by a Gerard Pique red card, who will miss Wednesday’s clash.
Incidentally, the Catalonians haven’t won the Champions League since 2015, where they beat Juventus 3-1 in Berlin – albeit they had world-class players in Neymar, Luis Suarez, Dani Alves and Xavi Hernandez that night; players they have largely failed to replace, hence their lack of European success since.
Koeman has a lot to think about in terms of team selection. First-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is likely to miss out with a knee injury, meaning Neto is likely to make just his third continental start for Barcelona. French centre-back Samuel Umtiti also misses out with a fitness issue, whilst playmaker Philippe Coutinho is absent with a hamstring injury picked up against Real at the weekend.
Juventus Last Five Matches (All Competitions)
- Hellas Verona (H) 1-1 Serie A draw
- Dynamo Kiev (A) 2-0 Champions League Group G win
- Crotone (A) 1-1 Serie A draw
- Napoli (H) 3-0 Serie A win*
- Roma (A) 2-2 Serie A draw
*Napoli forfeited this fixture as they had a depleted squad because of COVID-19.
Barcelona Last Five Matches (All Competitions)
- Real Madrid (H) 1-3 La Liga loss
- Ferencvaros (H) 5-1 Champions League Group G win
- Getafe (A) 0-1 La Liga loss
- Sevilla (H) 1-1 La Liga draw
- Celta Vigo (A) 3-0 La Liga win
Juventus Top Scorers
Paulo Dybala (11 League Goals in 2019/20) – Main man Cristiano Ronaldo is still likely to be sidelined due to returning a positive test whilst on international duty, and so Andrea Pirlo will look to Argentine star Paulo Dybala to be the focal point and go one better than his compatriot Messi by leading The Bianconeri to victory. Dybala scored three goals in three Champions League starts last campaign, with all three coming at the Allianz Stadium.
Dejan Kulusevski (2 League Goals this season + 10 goals last season in Serie A for Parma) – The sharpshooting Swede has burst onto the Torinese scene this year after impressing in the league on loan at Parma last year. After joining Atalanta from his hometown club Brommapojkarna at sixteen-years-old, the Bergamo-based side sent him on loan to Parma where he scored four and provided seven assists in just 17 league games; prompting Juventus to buy him for £35m – and he hasn’t looked back since.
Barcelona Top Scorers
Ansu Fati (7 League Goals in 2019/20 + 4 this season)–The new kid on the block has stolen the limelight from Lionel Messi this season. The footballing world took notice of Fati when he scored for Barcelona at the young age of just 16 years and 304 days – duly becoming the youngest scorer in the club’s history – and the Guinea-Bissau winger hasn’t looked back since by scoring four goals in five games for the Catalan club this season. This will be his last game before turning eighteen, but having already cemented his place in the first XI and scoring for Spain, Barcelonistas will hope to praise their man for many years to come.
Lionel Messi (25 League Goals in 2019/20) – There are a lot of doubts reigning over Messi at the moment as reporters are planting the question into the heads of many football fans – be it age worries, ability loss, murmurs of discontent and transfers requests. However, this will not deter the Argentinian; it is obvious to everyone that he is still a world-class player and to some, still the best player in the world. Despite only scoring one La Liga goal this season, Messi still scored three in the Champions League last season and has a wealth of experience to boot, which could still harm Juve.
- These two have met five times since June 2015, but hadn’t met in the twelve years leading up to that fixture.
- The last time both teams scored in a fixture against one another was the Champions League Final in 2015.
- Both sides’ biggest respective transfer fees of the summer was a signing from one another; Barcelona signed maestro Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo for 72 million Euros, whilst Miralem Pjanic went the other way for 60 million Euros.
|22nd November 2017||JUV 0-0 BAR||UEFA Champions League|
|12th September 2017||BAR 3-0 JUV||UEFA Champions League|
|19th April 2017||BAR 0-0 JUV||UEFA Champions League|
|11th April 2017||JUV 3-0 BAR||UEFA Champions League|
|6th June 2015||JUV 1-3 BAR||UEFA Champions League|
Will’s Betting Tips
With Barcelona not playing up at their pinnacle under what seems to be a make-shift appointment in Ronald Koeman, it may take them a while to get into the game; and coming to the Allianz Stadium won’t be the best venue to get a result. Juventus have only lost three games from their last fifty-seven league games in the fortress, with just four defeats in other competitions in that three-year span.
The last two of the last four meetings between these two sides’ have finished with under 2.5 goals – and with Juventus missing their main man Cristiano Ronaldo, whilst Barcelona aren’t exactly firing on all cylinders under Ronald Koeman – I don’t expect there to be many goals in this one; and in what will be a cagey affair to top Group G.
With Cristiano out, Paulo Dybala is extremely likely to start and lead the Italians’ attack, and by being on the front foot in the Piedmont city – whilst also being on set-pieces – I expect the former Palermo striker to score at least once.
*Odds as of time of writing (Tuesday 27th October 2020) and subject to change.
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