The Champions League was always bound to produce some thrilling encounters and this season, the Round of 16 itself will see two European giants face off each other in a crunch tie this mid-week. Italian champions Juventus will face German champions Bayern Munich in the first leg of the knock out round fixtures in the elite competition.
Bayern the most consistent team in the recent years will try to push the runners up of last year’s competition out of the cup and will be hoping to go all the way this season while the Italian outfit will be in search of an upset that may just give them loads of confidence for all the competitions remaining this season. Juventus are fresh from a draw against Bologna while Bayern won their last league game 3-1 at home. This will surely be a memorable clash of two of the biggest institutions in the world of football.
Here is the Preview of the game along with the team news, predictions, expected line-ups and betting odds:
The Juventus vs Bayern Munich match will be played on Tuesday the 23rd of February at the Juventus Stadium in Turin. The kick off is scheduled at 7:45 pm GMT (1:15 am IST on Wednesday).
Juventus were dealt a blow when Martin Caceres was declared unfit for this game against Bayern due to an injury. Mario Mandzukic, Giorgio Chiellini, and Alex Sandro are all missing from this game due to various injuries while Sami Khedira and Juan Cuadrado are both doubtful for this clash. This leaves Morata and Dybala as the front two for Allegriin a 4-4-2 formation.
Guardiola has his own set of injury problems with Boateng, Martinez and Badstuber are all out due to injuries. Mehdi Benatia however is fully fit after recovering from an injury while Mario Gotze who has missed a the last few weeks is also back in contention for a place in this game. This leaves the manager with Kimmich and Alaba as the central defenders with Vidal and Thiago in the mid-field.
Buffon-Evra, Barzagli, Bonucci, Lichtsteiner; Pogba, Marchisio, Khedira, Cuadrado; Dybala, Morata.
Neuer; Lahm, Kimmich, Alaba, Bernat; Vidal, Thiago; Muller, Costa, Robben; Lewandowski.
Dybala vs Kimmich:
Juventus forward Dybala has had a dream start to his time in Turin as he has just been unplayable whole season. He has found the back of the net consistently and will be the biggest threat for Bayern on the night. Kimmich who did well in recent games will have to stay strong and not give Dybala any time on the ball else Bayern might be looking at a tough game this mid-week.
Lewandowski vs Bonucci:
A star studded Bayern team is lead by Robert Lewandowski, arguable the best striker in world football at the moment. His movement and intelligence might be too hot to handle for the hosts on the night. However, Bonucci has been excellent in recent games at the back and will cherish the opportunity to play against one of the best in the business at the moment. This will be an interesting battle all night long.
Juventus, who finished second in Group D behind Manchester City, have made it to the knockout stages of the Champions League in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2005/06.
Juventus are winless in their last four Champions League games against Bayern Munich (D1 L3), their last victory dating back to November 2005 courtesy of a David Trezeguet brace (2-1).
Juventus scored only six goals in this season’s group stages, the lowest total among the 16 teams that made it to the knockout campaign.
Juventus have lost only two of their last 34 home games in the Champions League (W22 D10). Both of those defeats were against Bayern Munich.
Bayern Munich are winless in their last five away games in the Champions League knockout stages (D2 L3).
Alvaro Morata has scored six goals in eight starts in the Champions League knockout phase
Bayern Munich: 8/5
Both clubs are coming into this game unbeaten in their last five domestic matches. Both teams have some game changing players injured but still have a relatively strong squad that will make for a great viewing for the neutrals. However, even on the road, Bayern will start the game as firm favorites to knock the Italian champions out of the competition as early as in the Round of 16.
Juventus 1-4 Bayern Munich