Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has suggested that Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal could play a deeper role against his former side in the first leg of Tuesday’s mammoth Champions League Round of 16 tie. Meanwhile, centre-back Giorgio Chiellini remains unavailable for the hosts.
Juventus have been on a great run of form on the domestic front, and now sit atop the Serie A table with 15 wins and a draw in their last 16 league games. As such, despite being favourites in the tie, Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola spoke respectfully about the Bianconeri and acknowledged them as tough opponents.
“We know that it won’t be easy, given Juve’s form,” Guardiola said, addressing his press conference in Turin ahead of the game (via Juventus’s official website). “They rarely ever concede. In fact, seven matches have passed since they last let in a goal.
“We’ve therefore been thinking about altering our approach in order to overcome their defensive strengths and to make up for our injury problems in the backline.”
The Bayern Munich coach has been playing left-back David Alaba as the left-sided centre-back in recent matches due to his defensive crisis, and that seems to have worked out quite well for the Bavarians.
However, Bayern’s biggest change lies in the middle of the park, where Arturo Vidal gets ready to face some of his old teammates. Guardiola hinted that he has a bit of a new role for Vidal in the Juve game.
“Obviously Arturo’s best position is in midfield, but he has the ability to interchange between roles and it’s a possibility that he could play further back than usual,” said Guardiola.
Juve still without Chiellini
Meanwhile, Juventus are set to bring star striker Paulo Dybala back into their starting lineup in this crucial clash. However, while Massimiliano Allegri likes to play the 3-5-2 formation, he does not have the personnel to use that as a weapon against Bayern Munich.
According to the 19-man squad listed by Juventus on their website, Chiellini still remains unavailable. The Italy international has been recovering from a torn muscle in his leg in the last few weeks, meaning Allegri has been unable to play three central defenders at the back.
The 3-5-2 formation was perfect to tackle the Pep Guardiola model, and the Italian team coached by Cesare Prandelli exhibited that perfectly in the semi-final of the 2013 Confederations Cup, when the Azzurri managed to stop the Spaniards from scoring for 120 minutes.
Juventus have currently been playing a variation of the 4-4-2 formation, with Pogba switching roles between central and left midfield. However, the Bianconeri will need more men in their midfield to combat Bayern Munich’s short passing game, and to that end, Allegri might opt for a 4-3-3 on Tuesday.