The start to Barcelona’s season has been a near-flawless one but the road ahead looks a little bumpier. If they can successfully negotiate their trip to Juventus and then a tricky La Liga assignment away to second-placed Valencia on Sunday, however, manager Erneste Valverde will be a very happy man.
Tonight’s opponents Juventus have had their troubles in Serie A this season, especially most recently, as they lost 3-2 in shambolic fashion to Sampdoria on the weekend. It’s hardly panic stations for the Italian champions after 10 wins out of 13 in Serie A, but their downturn in domestic form must now be a worry. If they lose tonight and Sporting beat Olympiakos in Group D’s other clash tonight, they face the real prospect of elimination.
Juventus will be hoping to draw upon some of the fine form that saw them demolish Barcelona in the quarter-finals last year over two legs. A repeat of that 3-0 home win in the first leg would provide a much-needed boost for everyone at the club. If Barcelona repeat their 2015 Champions League final over Juventus tonight, as they are favourites to do, it will cast a shadow over the Old Lady’s season.
Defensive trio Benedikt Höwedes, Mehdi Benatia and Stephan Lichtsteiner are out for Juventus, and Marco Pjaca remains a long term absentee. Barcelona are without their record signing Ousmané Dembélé, who will be out until 2018 with serious knee ligament damage. Rafinha, Sergi Roberto and Javier Mascherano are all still out.
Big Match Facts
- Juventus are undefeated in 17 of their last 19 Champions League matches.
- Barcelona are undefeated in their last five Champions League matches.
- Back the 1-1 draw in Group D’s Juventus vs Barcelona clash at 5.00 .
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