Nordsjaelland - Juventus Preview: Winless Bianconeri looking to heap more misery on Danish champions
Antonio Conte's men will be desperate to return to Turin with all three points after drawing their opening two games thus far, away to Chelsea and at home to Shakhtar Donetsk
By Mark Doyle
Parkhurst, Okore, Runje, Mtiliga
Lorentzen, Christensen, John
Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini
Caceres, Marchisio, Vidal, De Ceglie
Juventus should be bolstered by the return of captain Gianluigi Buffon and forward Mirko Vucinic for Tuesday night's crucial Champions League Group E clash with FC Nordsjaelland.
Buffon sat out Saturday night's Serie A win over title rivals Napoli with a thigh injury picked up on international duty with Italy but is expected to be given the all-clear to return in goal in place of Marco Storari for a game that the Bianconeri simply have to win after successive draws against Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Vucinic also missed the top-of-the-table showdown in Turin but he has recovered from the flu virus which laid him low last week and is expected to start up front alongside Sebastian Giovinco, with Fabio Quagliarella dropping to the bench.
However, on the down side for the Italian champions, first-choice wing-backs Kwadwo Asamoah (ankle injury) and Stephan Lichtsteiner (rested) have not travelled to Copenhagen, while the game has come too soon for Simone Pepe.
Paolo De Ceglie is expected to fill the void on the left-hand side left by Asamoah, while Martin Caceres is likely to be rewarded for his influential cameo against Napoli by getting the nod ahead of Mauricio Isla on the opposite flank.
As for the hosts, who have lost their first two games without scoring a single goal, coach Kasper Hjulmand is set to have a full squad to choose from, even though there are minor doubts over the participation of Ivan Runje and Mikkel Beckmann after Monday's training session at Parken.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Nordsjaelland have never before lined-up against an Italian side in European competition.
- Juventus have taken on Danish opposition just once before, the Bianconeri defeating Hvidovre IF 7-4 on aggregate in the first round of the 1982-83 European Cup.
- The hosts have now gone eight games without a victory in Europe, losing seven of those encounters.
- Andreas Laudrup's father, Michael, netted 16 times in 102 appearances for Juventus.
- Nordsjaelland quartet Nicolai Stokholm, Kasper Lorentzen, Jesper Hansen and Jores Okore were all in the Danish squad beaten by Italy in Milan last weekend. Juventus forward Nicklas Bendtner started up front for the visitors.
- Juventus have yet to taste defeat in any competition so far this season, with their unblemished Serie A record now standing at 47 games, a run which stretches back to the penultimate round of the 2010-11 season.
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Top 3 Predictions
FC Nordsjælland 0-3 Juventus
- 26.66 %
FC Nordsjælland 0-2 Juventus
- 17.97 %
FC Nordsjælland 0-5 Juventus
- 10.17 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 7, 2012||Juventus 4 - FC Nordsjælland 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 23, 2012||FC Nordsjælland 1 - Juventus 1|
|Aug 29, 2013||FC Nordsjælland 0 - Elfsborg 1||EL|
|Aug 22, 2013||Elfsborg 1 - FC Nordsjælland 1||EL|
|Aug 7, 2013||Zenit Saint Petersburg 5 - FC Nordsjælland 0||UCL|
|Jul 30, 2013||FC Nordsjælland 0 - Zenit Saint Petersburg 1||UCL|
|Dec 5, 2012||Chelsea FC 6 - FC Nordsjælland 1||UCL|
|-||Enock Kofi Adu||Midfielder|
|30||SmørumnedreLasse Andersen Petry||Midfielder|
|11||Paolo De Ceglie||Defender|
Scoring goals has proven incredibly difficult for FCN in their debut campaign in the Champions League proper, so they could really do with their most reliable marksman, Joshua John, carrying over his scintillating domestic form into European competition. That will be easier said than done, of course, but the on-loan Twente attacker, who has netted eight times in nine Danish Superliga appearances since arriving in Farum during the summer, showed enough against the Blues last time out to suggest that he belongs at this level.
The all-action Chile international was strangely out of sorts in Saturday's crunch clash with Napoli and his withdrawal midway through the second half came as no surprise. Juventus will need the former Bayer Leverkusen man at his biting best if they are to suppress what is likely to be a spirited challenge from the home side.
The home side are unsurprisingly seen as the whipping boys in Group E, having lost their opening two games. However, Juventus would do well to be very wary of the Danish champions, who caused Shakhtar problems in Donetsk before coming out on the wrong side of an incredibly unjust 4-0 scoreline at home to Chelsea. Still, Juventus received the perfect pick-me-up after some rather patchy performances by deservedly defeating Serie A title rivals Napoli at the weekend. Away win.