Catalan giants Barcelona find themselves in a familiar position as they prepare to host Serie A champions in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal tie with a three-goal deficit.
Barcelona need another miracle
La Liga heavyweights Barcelona will be hoping miracles coming in pairs this season as Luis Enrique’s men are faced with another huge challenge in the Champions League. The Catalans were forced to chase the 4-0 deficit against Paris Saint-Germain in the Last-16 stage already and although they managed to mount the challenge and record a remarkable 6-1 victory, a much more difficult task is on the hands this time around. The Spanish side is coming off from a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Juventus in Turin, in a game which saw Barcelona become a victim of their own poor tactical choices which left them too exposed to lethal Juventus side. Barcelona recorded too many set-backs this season already and they are starting to leave a big dent in team’s morale which could eventually prove costly against a well-organised unit such as Juventus. Defence is turning out to be a major issue for the Catalans who once again capitulated on two occasions last time out against Real Sociedad in a game which almost saw Barcelona drop a three-goal lead in the first 45 minutes of the match. Ultimately, a 3-2 got Barcelona back to winning ways and it will be quite interesting to see whether Luis Enrique’s men will have it in them to overcome another big hurdle on road to Cardiff.
The hosts will be without Aleix Vidal and Rafinha who are struggling with knee and ankle injuries, respectively, whereas Javier Mascherano remains a fitness doubt.
Juve keen to go all the way
This season’s edition of the Champions League has caused plenty of optimism and belief that Juventus could go out to lift the coveted trophy which got snatched out their hands two years ago in the finals by none other than Barcelona. The grit and desire were more than evident in Juventus players’ faces in the first leg and was obvious that the quarterfinal tie against Barcelona is arguably the biggest game of their season. Juventus played as if there is no tomorrow and were brave enough to execute a courageous plan and attack Barcelona straight from the off. Paulo Dybala has been particularly impressive as the Argentine went on to score a first-half brace and confirm his emerging world-class quality and potential. Giorgio Chiellini only confirmed the winner after the interval with his rare Champions League goal, putting Juventus in the driving seat with this tie. The Italians are renowned for their defensive strength and will definitely learn from PSG’s mistakes at Camp Nou, so we are prone to believe that Juventus are in good position to go through to the semi-finals.
Paulo Dybala picked up a knock against Pescara but should be fit to feature in the most important game of the season. Juventus boss Max Allegri has no other selection issues ahead of this game.
Top pick: Draw no Bet Juventus 4.75 (15/4) @Betfair
Alternative pick 1: Juventus/Draw 2.60 (8/5) @Bet365
Alternative pick 2: Under 2.5 goals 2.80 (9/5) @Unibet