Juventus Stadium, Turin
5 April 2015 19.45 CET
The two superpowers of world football, Real Madrid and Juventus, meet each other in the first semi final of UEFA Champions League in Turin and looking at the current form of both the teams, this game promises to be a memorable one.
Juventus clinched their fourth straight Serie A title on this weekend and Max Allegria s side remain in hunt for a treble to make it a historical season. But the task ahead of them is not at all easy as Real Madrd have performed better in Europe than them in recent past.
Real Madrid, the record ten times champions of Europe, are on course to become the first team ever to defend their UEFA Champions League title but Carlo Ancelottia s men will have to do it without the services of Luka Modric and Karim Benzema.
Team News and Tactics
Things were not looking well for the Old Lady of Italy before the start of this season as Antonio Conte had resigned from his post while they also failed to land any big name striker in the transfer window.
But new coach Max Allegri has done wonders with this team as Juventus are already crowned as the champions of Italy, while they are on a right track to complete the treble.
The biggest strength of this Juventus side is their solid defence. In Serie A, Juventus have conceded just 19 goals in 34 outings, while in the Champions League, the Old Lady have shipped just five goals in 10 matches, with Giji Buffon having kept six clean sheets in the process.
The midfield of Juventus, consisting of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and Marchisio, is arguably the strongest in Europe. But, Paul Pogba is still out injured and he wona t be playing against Real Madrid tonight which is a big blow for coach Max Allegri.
On the attacking front, the form of Carlos Tevez is a big plus for Juventus. Carlos Tevez has scored 28 goals this season and he will be a key player for the Bianconeri tonight.
Meanwhile, ahead of tonighta s game, Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo has said that Real Madrid is the a most important cluba in the world.
“Real Madrid are the most important club in the world,a said Andrea Pirlo.
“They have a lot of experience in this type of game and have a team of champions.”
“The first leg is crucial and we’ll need to play with intelligence as we have done in recent years. We’ll be mindful but also show some swagger, because we have a dream to fulfill and nothing to lose, but also aware that there’s a second leg to follow.”
Predicted Starting Lineup (5-3-2): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Evra; Pirlo, Vidal, Marchisio; Tevez, Llorente
Real Madrid are trailing by two points to FC Barcelona in La Liga at the moment and they obviously are the second favorites to win that competition now. But, the Los Blancos still remain in hunt of their second successive UEFA Champions League title but they will have to overcome the challenge of Juventus first.
Carlo Ancelottia s men showed great character to beat Atletico in the quarterfinals. But the tonighta s game is a different ball game altogether as Juventus are looking in great touch at the moment while, Italy remains the difficult hunting ground for Los Blancos as they remain winless in their last seven trips.
The defence of Real Madrid looks well settled as they have not conceded a goal in 444 minutes in their away matches in the Champions League so far.
Carlo Ancelotti was forced to use Chicharito as the replacement of Karim Benzema against Atletico at Santiago Bernabeu and the Mexican surprised everybody by scoring a winning goal. And, Ancelotti will have to start with Chicharito again tonight as Benzema still remains sidelined.
Meanwhile, the biggest headache for Carlo Ancelotti at the moment is his midfield as Luka Modric remains sidelined due to an injury.
Real Madrid midfield has looked short of ideas in absence of Modric on many occasions this season. Ancelotti will be hoping for an inspirational performance from the likes of Kroos, Isco and James tonight.
Meanwhile, Toni Kroos has said that having an Italian coach will help them in a game against Juventus.
“We have an Italian coach that knows Juventus very well,” Toni Kroos said. “I think that will help us.
“We are going to do all that we can to reach the final knowing that no club has managed to defend the Champion League crown.
“This is our biggest challenge of the year.”
Predicted Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Casillas; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Isco, Kroos, James; Bale, Chicharito Hernandez, Ronaldo
Players To Watch Out For
Carlos Tevez (Juventus)
In spite of ongoing rumours surrounding his future, Tevez remains the most dangerous attacker of Juventus and he has all the ability to cause trouble to the solid defence of Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo looked out of form in April but he made a strong come back in a game against Sevilla on Saturday, which is certainly a bad news for Juventus. Max Allegri will have to find a way to stop Ronaldo tonight or the CR7 will make life miserable for his defence in their own backyard tonight.
Juventus 1-1 Real Madrid
Juventus Stadium has become a fortress for the Old Lady this season and, on the other hand, Real Madrid have also played exceptionally well away from home in Champions League. Both teams look well balanced at the moment and it will be a big surprise if a tonighta s clash produces a clear winner.
Blast From The Past