Barcelona vs Juventus preview

September 11, 2017
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Image: Reuters / Dylan Martinez

The 2014/2015 finalists meet in the Champions League group stage this time out, with Juventus obviously eager to get revenge on Barcelona for a 3-1 defeat in said match.

The Catalans are still trying to recover from what was quite a disappointing season last term, as well as from the departure of Brazilian superstar Neymar.

Even though they were after Philippe Coutinho, Barcelona ultimately splashed out on Ousmane Dembele, who will be under pressure to justify the hefty price tag.

Paulinho and Nelson Semedo also joined the ranks at Camp Nou, but it would appear as though the Catalans lack the quality to match Europe’s best sides.

Barcelona were comfortably beaten by arch rivals Real Madrid in both Super Cup matches, although they showed improvement to win the first three league fixtures.

But, while they did well not to concede in victories over Real Betis, Deportivo Alaves and Espanyol, they will have much bigger fish to fry in midweek.

Barcelona can be backed at 1.73 (8/11) to make it four wins in a row, but we do expect Juventus to make life difficult for the Spanish giants.

There have been no fresh injury worries for Ernesto Valverde, but Arda Turan, Sergi Roberto and Rafinha Alcantara remain on the sidelines.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): ter Stegen – Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba – Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta – Messi, L. Suarez, Deulofeu.

While largely dominating Italian football in recent years, Juventus haven’t quite managed to achieve the European success they crave for.

The closest they came to Champions League glory was two years ago when they were beaten in the final by Barcelona and they now begin the new campaign against the Catalans.

The Bianconeri squad underwent some changes in the summer, with key defender Leonardo Bonucci leaving, but they in turn signed quite a few new footballers.

In came Douglas Costa, Blaise Matuidi, Mattia De Sciglio, Federico Bernardeschi, Benedikt Howedes, Wojciech Szczesny and Rodrigo Bentancur.

Even so, Juventus were beaten in the first game of the season, losing the Italian Super Cup match to Lazio, but they eased off to three wins in Serie A.

The Bianconeri will have to make do without Sami Khedira and Juan Cuadrado, as well as Marko Pjaca, Giorgio Chiellini and Claudio Marchisio.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Buffon – El Shaarawy, Barzagli, Benatia, Alex Sandro – Sturaro, Pjanic, Matuidi – Dybala, Higuain, Mandzukic.

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