Juventus will be looking to extend their unbeaten start to the 2019-20 Champions League when they host Russian outfit Lokomotiv Moscow on Tuesday night.
Serie A champions will be aiming to get their second win of their 2019-20 UEFA Champions League campaign when they welcome Lokomotiv Moscow to the Allianz Stadium for a Group D encounter this week.
Unbeaten across all competitions this season, Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus are at the top of their group in Europe, having collected four points from two matches, drawing with Atletico Madrid before beating Bayer Leverkusen. The Bianconeri picked up their sixth win on the trot when they beat Bologna this past weekend and will be keen on making it seven in a row on Tuesday night.
Lokomotiv Moscow are third in Group D with three points from two matches. Having made a winning start to their European campaign against Bayer, the Russians succumbed to a defeat to Atletico Madrid earlier this month. But, Yuri Semin’s side have won both their fixtures since, beating Akhmat Grozny in the league most recently and will be hoping to get an upset result in Italy.
Ahead of this Group D meeting between Juventus and Lokomotiv Moscow, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Maurizio Sarri will continue to be without the services of defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Mattia De Sciglio, while Douglas Costa and Marko Pjaca also remain unavailable. Emre Can, who is reportedly courting interest from Manchester United, is ineligible for the competition.
There will definitely be some changes to the side that started against Bologna at the weekend. Starting from goal itself, Gianluigi Buffon is expected to make way for first-choice stopper Wojciech Szczesny, while Danilo could return at right-back after recovering from his injury. Leonardo Bonucci, Matthijs de Ligt and Alex Sandro should keep their places in the backline.
Bosnian international Miralem Pjanic will slot in the deepest position in the middle of the park and look to dictate the tempo for Juventus. Blaise Matuidi, who did not start against Bologna at the weekend, should return to the lineup to partner summer arrival Adrien Rabiot in midfield.
Aaron Ramsey is likely to miss out again, as he recovers from a muscle problem, meaning Federico Bernardeschi should continue to slot in the hole behind the two forwards for Juventus. Cristiano Ronaldo is a certainty to start in attack, but there could be a change in partners for him with Paulo Dybala likely to come in for Gonzalo Higuain.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Sandro; Rabiot, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi; Dybala, Ronaldo
There are a number of injury concerns for Lokomotiv Moscow manager Semin heading into the clash as key attacker Fedor Smolov is set to miss out, along with Rifat Zhemaletdinov, Jefferson Farfan, Maciej Rybus and Anton Miranchuk. Luka Djordjevic picked up an injury in the last game against Akhmat Grozny and is likely to be unavailable as well.
The manager is likely to switch to a 4-1-4-1 formation from the 4-4-2 he used at the weekend in order to strengthen his midfield against a quality opposition like Juventus. There is no looking past Guilherme between the sticks for the Russian outfit, but there could be a few changes in defence.
Vladislav Ignatyev, who was suspended for the last league game, is available for this clash and should slot in at right-back, while German centre-back Benedikt Howedes should also come into the side, starting alongside Vedran Corluka. Bryan Idowu is expected to continue at left-back.
Murilo Cerqueira will be the defensive midfielder for the visitors and will be tasked with disrupting Juventus’ rhythm in the middle. Support will come from Polish international Grzegorz Krychowiak and Dimitri Barinov, who returns to the side after being suspended for the league game against Akhmat.
Portuguese international Joao Mario, who was on the scoresheet at the weekend, will continue to feature from the left while Aleksey Miranchuk will carry the creative threat from the opposite flank. 31-year-old Eder should continue to lead the line for Lokomotiv in Smolov’s absence.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Guilherme; Ignatyev, Corluka, Howedes, Idowu; Cerqueira; Miranchuk, Barinov, Krychowiak, Mario; Eder
- Juventus and Lokomotiv Moscow last faced each other in the first round of the 1993-94 UEFA Cup, with the Bianconeri winning 4-0 on aggregate (3-0 home, 1-0 away).
- Juventus have lost only two of their last 38 home UEFA Champions League group stage matches (W26 D10 L2), keeping 23 clean sheets in those games.
- Lokomotiv Moscow picked up only their third UEFA Champions League win on the road in 17 attempts (W3 D3 L11) in their last away game against Bayer Leverkusen and are looking to win back-to-back away games for the first time.
- On average, Juventus have named the second-oldest (29y 354d) and Lokomotiv Moscow the fourth-oldest (28y 274d) starting lineups in the UEFA Champions League this season.
- Joao Mario has created six chances in the UEFA Champions League for Lokomotiv Moscow this season – three times as many as any other player for the club.
Player to Watch
The Portuguese maverick has had a slow start to the season in comparison to the usual standards he sets for himself. Ronaldo scored his fifth goal of the campaign in nine matches across all competitions in the win against Bologna and will be hoping to build on that by adding to his tally in the Champions League clash on Tuesday night.
The 34-year-old will have his eyes on another record heading into the game against Lokomotiv. Ronaldo has scored against 33 different opponents in the UEFA Champions League, a joint-record with Real Madrid legend Raul and the Portuguese will be hoping to make the record his own in this match, with this being his first appearance against Lokomotiv Moscow.
Juventus 2-0 Lokomotiv Moscow
Juventus are unbeaten across all competitions this season and come into Tuesday’s game on the back of six wins in a row after their 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid. Lokomotiv Moscow are topping the table in the Russian Premier League and while they impressed against Bayer Leverkusen, they were found wanting against Atleti.
The Bianconeri are the overwhelming favourites to bag a win at the Allianz Stadium and we at The Hard Tackle expect them to collect three points without any hiccups, with Cristiano Ronaldo likely to reach another personal milestone.