Juventus Stadium, Turin
February 24th 2015; 8:45 CET
On course for their fourth successive Serie A title, Juventus will be looking to make their mark on the Champions League at the expense of Borussia Dortmund who were the losing finalists two years ago.
Juventus haven’t advanced to the quarter-finals of the Champions League just once in the past nine seasons and will have to be at their best to get past their German oppositions who have belied domestic form to top their Champions League group which included Arsenal.
Team News and Tactics
Juventus endured a tough group stage campaign which involved last season’s losing finalist Atletico Madrid but they eventually advanced at the expense of Olympiakos finishing a point over them. They have not lost in 21 matches since October and are also unbeaten at home in all competitions since a 2-0 defeat by Bayern Munich in April 2013.
Patrice Evra, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Arturo Vidal could all return having missed out on the 2-1 win over Atlanta on Friday
Kwadwo Asamoah will defintely miss out through injury and the likes of Andrea Barzagli, Luca Marrone and Alessandro Matri are all doubts.
“It’s not the game of the season because it’s not a final; it’s 180 minutes against a side in good form like we are,” Massimiliano Allegri said ahead of the game.
“Borussia have four very fast, technically gifted forwards. We’ve got to limit their strengths and try to play a good, intense, physical and technical game.”
“Nobody is saying they are better than us but they are very fast and technically strong up front. They are well-organised and play good football, particularly in attack. Playing at home, it is fundamental that we don’t concede; they score a lot though.”
“Klopp has done great things. He has rebuilt Borussia since 2006, winning the Bundesliga and doing great things in Europe. I don’t know what we have in common, but he’s definitely a great coach.”
“I think it’s an anomaly that Borussia are in the position they are in. Come the end of the season, I expect they will be among the leading clubs because the league is still tight apart from Bayern; they are in a league of their own.”
Dortmund come into this game on the back of three league wins in a row that has lifted them out of the relegation zone following their worst ever start to a season and the German side will be looking to replicate their famous win against Juventus back in the 1997 final
Kevin GroAYkreutz will miss the trip to Turin while the likes of Mats Hummels, Ciro Immobile, Sven Bender, Erik Durm, and Sebastian Kehl are all doubts.
“It will take a while before we find ourselves in a different situation in the Bundesliga,” Jurgen Klopp said. “Until then, the pressure remains. The Champions League is a whole different story.”
“The most important thing that has changed is our physical shape. We knew that if we had the time to train and work on the tactical side of things, which was not possible in the first half of the season, then we could be a lot better. That’s what has happened. We’ve still had problems a but not physical ones. We’ve just got to regain confidence.”
“We knew we would be much stronger in the second half of the season. It’s the last 16, we’ve won three in a row, it’s a great situation. We know that the day after tomorrow, our relegation battle goes on. But tomorrow night, you’re not going to see that we’re in a relegation battle in the Bundesliga.”
“We were never more motivated for the Champions League than the Bundesliga, we just got a bit more room in the Champions League, which will not be the case here. I’m just glad that the first half of the season is behind us now.”
“We remember 1997, when the big favourites Juventus lost. They are not so far from us now a but that doesn’t mean we’ve already won. This has nothing to do with 1997. I didn’t bring Michael Zorc or Karl-Heinz Riedle [veterans of that triumph still at the club] along to talk about it, so it doesn’t have a great significance.”
Players To Watch Out For
The veteran midfielder scored a cracking goal against Atlanta and will once again be a vital cog at the base of Juventus’ midfield. However, the pressing he faces in midfield from Dortmund might ultimately have a huge say in the outcome of the game because Pirlo isn’t usually up against intense pressing in the Serie A as he is in the Champions League.
Having scored three goals and registered an assist in his side’s last three games, Reus will be full of confidence having also signed a contract extension with Dortmund.
Juventus 1-1 Dortmund
It will be a close game with Dortmund continuing their impressive run in the Champions League.