Champions League: Juventus vs Barcelona Preview (28th October, 2020)
Andrea Pirlo led Juventus will be hosting Ronald Koeman’s FC Barcelona in one of the most awaited Champions League games at the Allianz Stadium on October 28, 2020.
Right from the day the groups were announced, fans all over the world have been in awe with destiny as two of the most coveted players of all time face each other twice in a season just like the old ‘El Clasico’ days. The fixtures have an added value as both the players are approaching their final years and the unpredictability of the UCL may not put them face to face that often.
The Portuguese skipper’s availability will be a huge concern for his fans and team-mates as the forward has been quarantining after he contracted the COVID-19. Even though he has been completely asymptomatic, he will only be permitted to participate in the game if he tests negative 24 hours prior to the game.
The Old Lady has added yet another key player to the casualty list after their recent draw with Hellas Verona. Leonardo Bonucci will be examined on a day to day basis to see whether the Italian can make himself available in time for the game.
Juventus skipper Giorgio Chiellini also limped off in the first game of his UCL season and will be in the injured Matthijs De Ligt’s company.
Alex Sandro will be sidelined too while Paulo Dybala will be starting alongside Alvaro Morata or Cristiano Ronaldo or both.
The Catalans will be without the services of the veteran Gerard Pique due to the red card he received against Ferencvaros. Samuel Umtiti has been struggling with match fitness too, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen will be absent and replaced by Neto.
Two players, Miralem Pjanic and Arthur will be against their former clubs while Neto will have a memory of his time in Turin. Ansu Fati is expected to start beside Messi who will be at the Allianz Stadium after his visit in 2017 during pre-season.
Juventus Probable Line Up: (3-4-1-2)
(Dejan Kulusevski may start in place of Bentancur too)
Barcelona Probable Line Up: (4-2-3-1)
(If Pjanic is given a chance in the midfield then Messi may play in Pedri's position)
Head-to-Head: Last 6 games
Barcelona have been on top when it comes to the head-to-head battle. Out of the last six games, the Spanish giants have won thrice, drawing two and losing only one. The Bianconeri last triumphed over the Catalans 3-0 in 2017 in the Champions League quarter-final, courtesy of a Paulo Dybala brace, and a dominant defensive display by the Italian giants.
Juventus: 1 win
Barcelona: 3 wins
Alvaro Morata vs Clement Lenglet
The Spaniard has looked fresh this season. He is contributing to the team not only in terms of goals and assists but is involving himself in beautiful passages of play too. He will fancy his chances against Lenglet who has not had the best of starts this season.
Danilo vs Lionel Messi
The team players have played against each other in the past but not very often. In Chiellini's and Bonucci's subsequent absence, it will be Danilo's job to keep the Old Lady away from the Argentine. Messi will create more room for him and Fati to play more freely as Juventus will be without their experienced defenders.
Both the teams have defensive concerns but considering it a high-profile fixture, the teams would want to take more risks. Juventus could be a completely different side mentally and physically if their number 7 is on the pitch, and that would certainly ensure more goals.
However, as things stand he looks unlikely to be available for the game. Messi and Co. would want to win after an exasperating loss in the league game against Real Madrid. A win here could make things right for the Catalans.