Juventus host Ferencvaros on Matchday 4 of the UEFA Champions League, looking to take a step towards a place in the Round of 16.

The UEFA Champions League returns to action after the dreaded international break and Juventus face Ferencvaros at home in an important fixture. Juventus are three points behind group leaders Barcelona and they would look to win convincingly versus Ferencvaros for the group could be evenly poised heading into the final matchday.

Juventus are slowly getting into the groove since Ronaldo’s return. The Bianconeri beat Cagliari 2-0 on the weekend in a performance that deserved praise. Juventus are converting the games that were previously ending as draws into wins and there seems to be a shift in momentum for the Italian side.

Ferencvaros have made a terrific start to their domestic campaign. Ferencvaros sit atop the Hungarian top flight and are unbeaten in 9 games. Their defensive record is also impressive as they have only conceded 4 goals in those 9 matches.

So, while their only two losses of the season have come against Juventus and Barcelona, Ferencvaros can take confidence from their overall record and fight to finish above Dynamo Kyiv in Group G. The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at both the sides ahead of the game.

Team News & Tactics

Juventus

Juventus are without their pioneer centre-backs Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. To add to their woes, Merih Demiral sustained a muscle strain and will reportedly be out for 10 days. This means that we could see Alex Sandro make his first start of the season much before anticipated, with Danilo partnering Matthijs De Ligt at the heart of the Juventus defence.

Wojciech Szczesny should return in goal after sitting out of the league game. Aaron Ramsey has resumed training, but should remain sidelined, while Federico Bernardeschi, who is going through somewhat of a purple patch, should retain his spot in the team.

The midfield duo of Arthur Melo and Adrien Rabiot are likely to keep their places, with Weston McKennie coming in for Dejan Kulusevski on the right. Kulusevski has had a good run of performances, but after a long international break, a rest is overdue, with McKennie likely to remain compact in midfield. Federico Chiesa is unlikely to start due to a lack of match fitness.

Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to lead from the front and could be accompanied by either Paulo Dybala or the Champions League top scorer, Alvaro Morata. Morata has been in fine touch this season, but has not been able to catch a breather – bearing most of the attacking burden in Ronaldo’s absence.

Dybala, on the other hand, has struggled with some injuries at the start of this season. However, his cameo versus Cagliari was extremely impressive; considering the Argentine stayed with Pirlo during the international break, Dybala is expected to start soon. A front three of Morata, Dybala and Ronaldo could also be on the cards, but it is unlikely that he would take that route right from the start.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2):Β Szczesny; Sandro, Danilo, De Ligt, Cuadrado; Bernardeschi, Rabiot, Arthur, McKennie; Dybala, Ronaldo

Ferencvaros

Unlike the reverse fixture that was played at home, Ferencvaros manager Serhiy Rebrov is spoilt for choice with a full fit squad in his ranks. Last time talisman Franck Boli was restricted to a cameo off the bench and Myrto Uzini missed out completely. Both players are expected to start this time. Centre-back Lasha Dvali is also expected to return to the team and partner Miha Blazic.

Marcel Heister, who scored the crucial goal on the weekend, is expected to partner Ihor Kharatin. Tokmac Nguen would look to exploit Cuadrado’s flank, while David Siger should start centrally. A lot will depend on striker Franck Boli, who has simply been sensational this season.

Ferencvaros come to Juventus off the back of a 1-0 derby victory over rivals, Honved, and would look to earn confidence from that hard-fought victory. It will be interesting to see if Ferencvaros opt for a defensive approach, or choose to take on their opposition and attack as the usually do.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1):Β Dibusz; Botka, Dvali, Blazic, Lovrenscics; Kharatin, Heister; Nguen, Siger, Uzuni; Boli

Key Stats

  • Juventus have won one of their last two meetings versus Ferencvaros, with the 4-1 win over the Hungarians coming earlier this season.
  • Juventus are unbeaten in their last three games versus Hungarian opposition and this is the first time they are hosting such a team since 1973.
  • Only two members of the Ferencvaros squad had ever featured in the Champions League before this season – Slovakian striker Robert Mak (with two appearances for Zenit last year) and Oleksandr Zubkov (one for Shakhtar Donetsk three years ago).
  • Juventus lost to Barcelona at home previously this season. They have not gone consecutive Champions League games at home without a win since 2016.
  • This is Ferencvaros’s first away game to an Italian opposition in an European competition since 1968.

Player to Watch

Cristiano Ronaldo

It would be criminal to not put Cristian Ronaldo as the one to watch for this match. The Portuguese has been in scintillating form this season and the all-time Champions League top scorer would look to open his account this season versus Ferencvaros. With qualification around the corner, Ronaldo will be key in guiding Juventus to an emphatic win over their Hungarian opposition.

Prediction

Juventus 3-0 Ferencvaros

Juventus looked in fine touch in their 2-0 rout of Cagliari on the weekend. The Bianconeri would like to take confidence from the convincing win and seize the opportunity to qualify for the knockout stages. Juventus are three points behind Barcelona in Group H and they will hope to avoid any slip-ups in an attempt to fight for the top spot. We predict a 3-0 win for the hosts.

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