Juventus Stadium is ready to host the first leg of Champions League semi-final. Tonight’s game will be the 17th in history between Juventus and Real Madrid (7 win for Juventus, 8 win for Real Madrid, 1 draw)
Referee: Martin Atkinson (ENG)
Following Saturday’s 0-1 win in Genoa against Sampdoria, the Bianconeri clinched their 33rd Scudetto, but they didn’t celebrate much, given the imminence of the game against Real.
Max Allegri asked for a big performance in defence and offence, believing that the “perfect game” is only a chimera. Allegri’s words “I don’t think that Juventus – Real Madrid and Real Madrid – Juventus are two games that will end nil-nil. Did Ancelotti say that he will play 4 [in midfield]? I’ll give you another 4, so you [journalists] will be happy!”
Then Juventus will play with the diamond in midfield, the 4-3-1-2 which is the most fielded formation in the second part of the season. Bonucci, Chiellini and Barzagli are all fit and ready to play, but the first two will start as centre-backs. There is also a less likely option with Chiellini on the left, Evra on the bench and Barzagli alongside Bonucci as central defenders. With Pogba out injured and possibly available only for the second leg, Pirlo will play in his deep playmaker role, with Pereyra as attacking midfielder and Vidal and Marchisio on the sides. Saturday Llorente played up-front with Tevez, showing form and fitness but the more mobile and ex-blanco Morata will start alongside “the Apache”.
4-3-1-2 Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Evra; Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio; Pereyra; Morata, Tevez
The Merengues collect their 4th consecutive win in la Liga, defeating 2-3 Siviglia at Stadio Sanchez Pizjuan but remain 2 points behind arch-rivals Barcellona.
“Both team will try to impose their qualities, and we want to be the ones to do that, because if Juve impose their style on us they have the better chance of winning and vice versa” Ancelotti told the media. During press conference, Ancelotti said that he will deploy a 4-4-2.
With Benzema in Madrid to recover from his knee-injury, Bale will be fielded up-front, in what probably will be a false-9 role with Chicharito ready to step up from the bench. Marcelo will start as left-back after his one game suspension. With Luka Modric still sidelined, Sergio Ramos will be used in midfield again, alongside Kroos. With Ramos as a midfielder, Varane and Pepe should be the centre-backs. Isco and James will both play as wide-midfielders, but one of the two (probably Isco) could also play more centrally switching the system from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 during the game.
4-4-2 Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo; Isco, Ramos, Kroos, James; Bale, Ronaldo
Someone believes that Juventus is the weakest side remaining in the Champions League, but the Italian champions have proven to be a very tough opponent for everyone, with some impressive defensive performance during this edition of the CL.
It will be interesting to see how the Bianconeri defence will cope with Ancelotti’s modern 4-4-2 and with two fast and creative forwards that likes to come deep to take the ball like Ronaldo and Bale. Allegri knows that his defenders can’t challenge the two Galacticos in open field, so Juventus will probably sit deep and stay compact, waiting for breakaway opportunities for their fast strikers Tevez and Morata, in a game plan similar to the two games against Borussia Dortmund.
On the other side, Real looked suspect at the back recently, and they have a real emergency in midfield but they are the reigning European Champions and they will try to score at least one.
– Pereyra trying to suffocate Real Madrid deep build-up, by consistently pressing or even man-marking Toni Kross, given the absence of another playmaker like Luka Modric alongside him
– Bale and Ronaldo switching positions and coming deep to drag Juventus defenders out of position, opening channels for Isco and James
– Lots of player for both sides with a remarkable shot from distance