They met in last season’s final in Cardiff but despite a very good first half from Juventus; they collapsed in the second half to lose 4-1 with Cristiano Ronaldo getting a brace. Will it be revenge tonight?
The experience of Giorgio Chiellini says no. “I don’t think of this match as revenge. When you go far in this competition, sooner or later you have to face Real Madrid or Barcelona, who are the best teams in the world right now. Fortunately, we have also good memories against them.”
In 22 head-to-head matches, Real Madrid have a slight advantage – eight wins to seven for Juventus but the Old Lady have often had the edge in two-legged affairs.
Will the ability to rest players play a role in Turin on Tuesday? While Juventus had to roll out their big guns to beat AC Milan last weekend to maintain a lead over Napoli, Real Madrid rested six players against Las Palmas and still won. Cristiano Ronaldo, the top marksman in this competition was rested and primed for Tuesday’s encounter.
Juventus manager, Massimiliano Allegri, believes maintaining the level of the first half of last season’s final would be key to beating the defending champions. “Tomorrow we want to build an advantage to then take to Madrid,” Allegri said at his pre-match press conference.
“Therefore, to score and not concede would be the ideal scenario. We need to play like we did in the first half in Cardiff, but to maintain that level throughout the tie.”
The most important aspect that will make or mar whatever strategy Allegri deploys would be Real scoring first. If they do and Juventus have to chase the game then they could be thrashed. Allegri continued: “Madrid are very dangerous when they can attack on spaces. We will have to be good in keeping possession and closing down spaces when we lose the ball.”
Having created 133 scoring chances and scored 22 goals already, Zinedine Zidane understands the Italian mentality on defending. “This Juve side have always been very strong and they are confirming it this season as well. They are a complete side and we will have to be very careful with their strong defence but also their dangerous attackers. As I said, they are strong everywhere.”
Zidane, who played for Juventus also believes last season’s 4-1 win in the final would have no bearing on Tuesday’s match. “We are here to play a good game, but certainly, the final in Cardiff has nothing to do with tomorrow’s match and we will not think about that. It’s a completely different story.”
But Real Madrid have a trump card in Ronaldo, a situation Luka Modric mentioned at the press conference. “Cristiano [Ronaldo] is in incredible form, I don’t even know how many goals he scored in recent games. For us, it’s very important to have him in such form. When he plays like that, he gives us more chances to qualify obviously.” With 21 goals in 2018 and over 50 per cent of goals scored in the UCL accruing to the Portuguese, the defending champions will always stand a good chance against any team while Allegri has to effectively replace Miralem Pjanic and Medhi Benatia, who are suspended.
Current Form: Juventus [W-D-W-W-W]; Real Madrid [W-W-W-W-W]
Head to head
03/06/17 UCL Juventus 1 – 4 Real Madrid
13/05/15 UCL Real Madrid 1 – 1 Juventus
05/05/15 UCL Juventus 2 – 1 Real Madrid
05/11/13 UCL Juventus 2 – 2 Real Madrid
23/10/13 UCL Real Madrid 2 – 1 Juventus
Words before War
“Real Madrid won 12 European Cups. They are an extraordinary team, but I think Juventus will be at the same level tomorrow. Facing the best is always great for people who work in football. It’s the reward for reaching the quarter-finals or the semi-finals in this competition.” – Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus Manager
“The team has not changed much compared to the final in Cardiff but it will be a completely different game as ten months have passed now. The season did not go as well as we expected but I’m happy because now we are in good form.” – Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid Manager
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