Juventus v/s Galatasaray
Juventus Stadium, Turin
The Turin giants go into this game needing to take all three points. They missed a chance to keep up with Real Madrid in the race for the top spot in the group thanks to the stalemate on the opening day at Copenhagen. The Old Lady have come off a controversial win over city rivals Torino on Sunday, but are forced to fret over the fitness of Carlos Tevez. Thanks to a studs-up challenge from Ciro Immobile, the former Manchester City striker is a doubtful starter. Manager Antonio Conte has been known to surprise with his selections up front of late, and it remains to be seen who will start for the Italian side.
The fixture, however, is a perfect opportunity for Juventus to put some daylight between themselves and their opponents, as Galatasaray are currently in disarray. A dispute with Unal Aysal, poor form in the league and a hammering by Real Madrid on the opening day of the Champions League at home meant that Fatih Terim lost his job. The Turkish side are not to underestimated though – they made it to the quarterfinals last season, and in Burak Yilmaz and Didier Drogba they boast of some prolific centre forwards who can score goals both at home and away.
This is the perfect opportunity for Juve to perform a stereotypical ‘Italian Job’, with the only wildcard being the tendency of the modern footballer to react positively to a manager’s sacking. Even though Juve are much different from his time at Inter, incoming manager Roberto Mancini will meet familiar opponents on Wednesday. Oh, and Felipe Melo will be coming to town too!
Prediction: Juventus 3-0 Galatasaray
Players to watch out for: Andrea Pirlo (Juventus), Burak Yilmaz (Galatasaray)
Real Madrid v/s Copenhagen
Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Los Blancos go into this game having lost a league game to city rivals Atletico Madrid for the first time in 14 years. They have, however, taken a giant step towards qualification for the next round by thrashing Galatasaray 6-1 on the opening day of the tournament. Madrid will be missing Gareth Bale on Wednesday thanks to a thigh strain he aggravated on Sunday. Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Iker Casillas will start in goal on Wednesday, while it looks like Karim Benzema will start once again, despite being booed on home territory on more than one occasion.
Their Danish opponents started the Champions League by taking points off the Italian champions. The European tournament pedigree of Juventus and Real Madrid means that qualification for the knockout stages is next to impossible. But as manager Stale Solbakken noted, it does help matters if points could be sneaked in here and there.
Goalkeeper Johan Wiland made the most amount of saves on the opening day; and will be a busy man at the Bernabeu. Conventional wisdom dictates that Real will be rampant, but it the game might be used as an opportunity to give some of the fringe members of the squad some game time in Europe. Madrid have scored in each of their last 26 Champions League games; and while one can expect a few selection surprises from Carlo Ancelotti, this scoring run should continue.
Prediction: Real Madrid 4-0 Copenhagen
Players to watch out for: Isco (Real Madrid), Johan Wiland (Copenhagen)