Juventus Stadium, Turin
27th November, 2013; 19:45 BST
Juventus host Danish club FC Copenhagen in their next Champions League group stage fixture at the Juventus stadium. The reverse fixture ended in a 1-1 draw for the away side as Fabio Quagliarella’s goal in the second half cancelled out Nicolai Jørgensen’s opener.
With Real Madrid running away with the top spot in this group, the fight for second place is wide open and will head towards a thrilling finale on the final day. Both Copenhagen and Juventus are in contention for a place in the next round along with Galatasaray and the three teams are separated by just one point. The result of this game will go a long way in deciding the final outcome of this group as Copenhagen will face Real Madrid in their last group stage fixture.
Team news and tactics
Juventus have made a bright start to their domestic campaign and look to be on course to defend their Serie A title. They have lost only one of their 13 league fixtures so far and are currently on five match winning streak in the league. Juventus are yet to lose a game at their home ground in all competitions this season and are coming into this game on the back of a 0-2 victory against Livorno. It was a comfortable win for the away side as Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez got on the score-sheet. They have been defensively solid as well and have now kept five clean-sheets in a row in Serie A.
There has been a huge contrast in their league form and their performance in Europe though. Juventus haven’t managed to win any of their four Champions League game this season. In fact they are on a winless streak of six games in this competition since last season and the last time they extended this run to seven games was back in 1998. The Italian side are currently at the bottom of the group having accumulated only three points so far. But despite such poor record so far, they are still in with a good shout to qualify for the next round as both Copenhagen and Galatasaray will face Real Madrid once in their remaining two fixtures. This should provide Juventus with an advantage, but this a must win game for them in order to capitalize on this. Interestingly Juve have won only four of their last 12 Champions League fixture at home. Juventus must take confidence from the fact that they managed to hold Real Madrid to a 2-2 draw in their last fixture.
Antonio Conte has a long injury list to contain with ahead of this fixture. Simone Pepe remains at the sideline with his injury and he has been joined by Stephan Lichtsteiner, Andrea Barzagli, Sebastian Giovinco and Mauricio Isla. Vucinic has recovered from his injury and featured in the match against Livorno as a substitute in the second half.
Conte is expected to make four changes to the side he fielded against Livorno. Conte did change to a 4-3-3 formation against Real Madrid, but is expected to switch back to his favoured 3-5-2 in this game. Injuries have provided Conte with limited options on the right wing and at the back. Arturo Vidal was started at the back against Livorno, but the 26-year-old will move back to the midfield in place of Marchisio. Martin Caceres will start on the right wing in place of Simone Padoin, while Bonucci and Ogbonna joins Chiellini at the back.
Expected starting line-up: Buffon (GK); Chiellini, Bonucci, Ogbonna; Asamoah, Pogba, Pirlo, Vidal, Caceres; Tevez, Llorente
Copenhagen made a disastrous start to their domestic campaign and won only two of their opening 10 league fixtures, but a recent improvement in their domestic form as seen them rise up to third spot in the Superliga table – six points behind league leaders FC Midtjylland. They are one a six match unbeaten run in all competitions and will be looking to maintain this momentum. Copenhagen are coming into this fixture on the back of a comfortable 4-1 win over Viborg as Igor Vetokele scored a wonderful brace. Copenhagen’s home form has been brilliant this season so far and they are undefeated in their 11 fixtures at Parken (and are currently on a seven match winning streak on their ground), but they have been poor on their travels and have failed to win their last five matches away from home.
They got off to a good start in the Champions League with a hard fought draw against Juventus at home, but have lost both their matches on the road against Real Madrid and Galatasaray. They are currently third in the league table and just one point behind Galatasaray. Copenhagen kept their hopes of qualification alive with a 1-0 victory over the Turkish side in their last Champions League fixture as Daniel Braaaten’s early goal proved to be the winner. But with the prospect of facing Real Madrid in their last game, Copenhagen must get a positive result in this match against Juventus. This is the match to turn around their poor away form before it is too late. The Danish side have lost seven of their last nine away fixtures and have failed to score in six of them.
Manager Ståle Solbakken has only one injury concern ahead of this game. Daniel Braaten, who scored the winner against Galatasaray, will miss out this game with a thigh injury. Solbakken is expected to make only one change to the side he fielded against Viborg. Igor Vetokele, who scored a brace in this weekend and has been the club’s top scorer in the league, has had limited opportunities in the Champions League, but the 21-year-old will once again get the opportunity to shine on the big stage as he replaced the injured Braaten upfront, while Cesar Santin will be replaced by Claudemir.
Expected starting line-up: Wiland (GK); Jacobsen, Mellberg, Sigurdsson, Bengtsson; Gislason, Claudemir, Delaney, Toutouh; Jorgensen, Vetokele
Players to watch-out for: Carlos Tevez (Juventus); Igor Vetokele (FC Copenhagen)
Prediction: Juventus 2-1 Copenhagen