We’re being treated to a weekly dose of Champions League football and this week’s Specials Menu includes a tasty tie between Juventus and Barcelona.
We’re licking our lips as two of Europe’s biggest names meet in north Italy in what will be Juve’s 200th Champions League match. They are seeking a sweet century of victories against a side who have never beaten them in Turin.
Barcelona and Juventus are no strangers to one another, having most recently met in the 2017/18 group stage. Leo Messi scored twice in a 3-0 victory in Catalonia, but the teams canceled each other out in the return leg. Messi is yet to tuck into his usual plate of goals this season, but you can back him at 11/8 or 3.8 to score in Turin.
Many will remember the 2015 Champions League final, a vintage Barcelona victory against a strong Juventus side. Rakitic, Suarez and Neymar, who have all since departed Barcelona, grabbed the goals for them while Alvaro Morata scored for Juventus. He returned to the club this season, and you can back him at 11/2 or 6.5 to score first.
It’s worth noting that this will be Andrea Pirlo’s first home match in the Champions League as Juve manager. The disappointing 2015 final was his farewell match as a Bianconero, so he’ll want to set some records straight.
Both teams enjoyed impressive victories in Matchday 1, but it was Barcelona’s hunger for goals that caught the eye. They had five different scorers in a 5-1 victory over Ferencváros.
Increased pressure on Koeman
The two opposing managers share a similar background. They are both club legends and are now still finding their feet as managers. The pressure on Koeman increased after humiliation in Saturday’s El Clasico. Real Madrid ran out 3-1 winners in Catalunya and managers’ destinies often hinge on El Clasico successes.
Juventus have drawn their last two Serie A games and were given a 3-0 forfeit result over Napoli before the draws. Pirlo is expected to deliver Juventus’ 10th straight Scudetto this season but his team are currently three points off the pace. The undefeated AC Milan top Serie A despite having played one less game than the reigning champions Juve.
Ronaldo’s race against time
It looks likely that Cristiano Ronaldo will miss the game due to illness, having tested positive for Coronavirus while on international duty. He needs to produce a negative Covid-19 test 48 hours before kick-off. It’s worth noting he notched 18 goals in 33 games against Barcelona. His absence would weaken Juventus and rob us of a first Champions League encounter between him and Messi.
Goalscoring threat flattened
Filling a Ronaldo-shaped hole is almost impossible. Should he play, he’s at 11/10 (2.1) to score, however without him it’s unlikely Juventus will score.
A goalless draw is priced at 10/1 or 11.0 while under 1.5 goals is available at 29/10 or 3.9.