The Italian giants will attempt to continue their good run of form and win this Group A fixture against their Austrian hosts…
Getting Off The Mark
Austrian side SV Salzburg are not expected by many to create a major upset in the group stage of the Europa League. Pitted against ambitious Premier League club Manchester City and Italian powerhouse Juventus as well as Polish champions Lech Poznan, they are supposedly the group’s whipping boys and the Bulls have done little to dispel that notion.
At the moment Huub Stevens’ side are at the bottom of Group A with no point from two games. Salzburg commenced their Europa League campaign with a 2-0 home defeat to Man City and then went down 2-0 to Lech Pozanan in Poland. They have been struggling on the domestic front too as they are currently seventh in the Austrian first division after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Kapfenberger at home in the ten-team league at the weekend.
But Stevens remains hopeful of getting something against Juve and enthuses, "I think and hope that we can also show our strength on Thursday. The atmosphere in the team is good, even though everyone is disappointed.
"We are trying to keep enjoyment levels high in training, but we need wins to do that as it is the only way out of the crisis.''
Carrying On The Momentum
Juventus’ rejuvenation appears to be going very smoothly as the former Italian and European champions won 4-0 against Lecce in Serie A at the weekend, which extended their unbeaten run to four matches in all competitions. The victory also propelled Luigi Del Neri’s side to fifth in the table and now they will be hoping to carry on that momentum in Europe.
The Bianconeri have drawn both their games in the Europa League and with two points are third in the group behind Lech Poznan and Manchester City. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad start to the campaign, Juve must try to strengthen themselves at the back as they have conceded four times already in Europe this season.
Defender Marco Motta, though, remains confident that the Old Lady can fashion a victory in Austria and says, "We got a fantastic win against Lecce. We must give continuity to this result starting from Thursday's match.
"We need a determined Juve in order to obtain the three points in Europe that we have yet to conquer.''
The Austrian side are likely to field a 4-1-4-1 formation with Alan as the lone striker up front.
Gianluigi Buffon, Armand Traore, Leandro Rinaudo and Davide Lanzafame are out injured for Juventus. Del Neri will again deploy his favoured 4-4-2 formation.