The Quarter Finals of the UEFA Champions League begins on Tuesday, April 3 with mouth watering encounters as Madrid play Juventus in Turin and Seville CF hosting German Champions Bayern Munich.
The Quarter finals of the competition has three Spanish sides, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Seville FC. The only two English sides left in the Competition are Liverpool and Manchester City will also face off on Wednesday. Bayern Munich is also the only German side surviving in the elite club competition. Italy are well represented with Juventus and Roma.
Juventus and Real Madrid
Juventus qualified to this present stage by staging a remarkable comeback against English side Tottenham Hotspurs at the Wembley Stadium last month. The London based club gave Juventus a shock in the first leg when they came from two goals down to draw level after the 90 minutes of play. In the second leg, Tottenham took the lead after which the two Argentine attackers; Higuain and Dybala combined to overturn the scoreline to make it 2-1.
The Old Ladies of the Italian Serie A are now in a comfortable lead in the league in Italy after Napoli failed to win over the weekend. Juventus proved too hot for their eternal rivals AC Milan as they beat the Rossoneris 3-1 in their last game played on Saturday evening in Turin.
Juventus have now peaked at the right time of the season but would be confronted with a daunting task as they host the defending champions Real Madrid. The Whites proved too hot for the Italian giants in the finals of the Champions League in 2016/17 season. They met Madrid in the finals after eliminating Spanish gurus FC Barcelona at the Quarter-final stage.
Real are not enjoying a very good season in the Spanish La Liga but have shown great signs of defending their crown won in the last two editions of the Competition. Coach Zidane would welcome back his talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo who was given some rest against La Palmas in the last La Liga matches played over the weekend. The Portuguese International leads the goal tally with 13 and he would be a decisive factor for the Spanish side as his goals have been for the past two seasons.
Juventus would need to work above themselves to eliminate the gods of the Champions League. Coach Maxi Allegri needs to get his full backs in full swing to defend very well as Madrid’s strength depends on the full backs, Dani Cavayal and Marcelo respectively.
They have provided most of the dangerous chances that lead to most of their goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale. Leichestnier and Kwadwo Asamoah would have to cautious when moving upfront to create width for Juventus in attack, they do not have to allow so much spaces for Cavayal and Marcelo to explore.
Much would also depend on Marco Asensio and Lucas Vasquez who have also been the most influential players when it comes to Zidane’s tactical changes. They got Madrid on track in their knockout game against PSG. So Allegri must find antidote for them.
In order to get a good scoreline against Madrid, Juventus must ensure they dominate the midfield battle. Juventus’ Khedira has experience and knows how tough the Madrid midfield is as he played with them before switching over to Turin but has not been effective against the big boys in the Competition, this is his time to come good and earn his status against his compatriot Toni Kroos and the flamboyant Luka Modric. The absence of Pjianic would prove costly for Juventus but the presence of Blaise Matuidi should be enough to get Juventus going.
This is the time for Paolo Dybala to convince Argentina coach Jorge Sampoli that he should be taken on the boat to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Dybala has been do essential in the Serie A for Juventus but has not yet stamped his exploits in the elite club competition. This is his time to put La Vignora Signori on his shoulders and prove to the football fraternity that he belongs to the upcoming stars after Messi and Ronaldo.
Madrid have won all two meetings in the finals when the two met in 1998 and 2017. But the previous meetings in the knockout stage favours Juventus with the recent one coming in 2015 when Madrid were on their way to defend their 2014 trophy.