Match: Juventus VS Real Madrid
Time: 9:45 PM (KSA)
Date: Tuesday, May 5
Location: Juventus Stadium (Turin, Italy)
Real Madrid will be in Italy tomorrow night as they face Juventus in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Here, I take a quick look at both teams and what we should expect going into this match. One thing is for sure though: We should not be underestimating the Italian Champions.
Juventus go into this game on a major high after being crowned the Champions of the 2014/2015 Serie A earlier this week when they beat Sampdoria 1-0 on Saturday. Now, their focus needs to quickly shift to the UEFA Champions League semi-final as they host the holders of the competition, Real Madrid. Will their concentration be lost due to their recent success in the league? Possible but I doubt it. They’re professionals and know that they have a major challenge coming up on Tuesday night. Therefore, they will stay grounded and make sure that they are all in the best shape possible for the upcoming match.
Conceding only 5 goals so far in the competition, the Italians have proven their defensive capabilities quite well so far. Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, and Andrea Barzagli have played together long enough to completely understand each others’ strengths and weaknesses to a point where they are able to assist each other in ways that we don’t usually see with other teams. With that said, the absence of Paul Pogba could prove to be a setback for the Old Lady after he has proven himself countless times and has helped the team in various ways so far this year.
Juventus have not been able to do well against Monaco in both legs of the quarter-finals as they were able to come out with a 1-0 aggregate win in the tie. This should not be taken into consideration though for the upcoming match since the past doesn’t matter anymore at this stage. Juventus are a strong team and they have proven it by making it this far into the competition.
Juventus’ Road So Far:
Juventus 2-0 Malmo
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Juventus
Olympiacos 1-0 Juventus
Juventus 3-2 Olympiacos
Malmo 0-2 Juventus
Juventus 0-0 Atletico Madrid
Juventus 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund 0-3 Juventus
Juventus 1-0 AS Monaco
AS Monaco 0-0 Juventus
The Italian Champions have had their ups and downs in the competition so far in the competition but they have always been able to find ways to make it through in the end. Now, they’re in the semi-finals and are more than prepared to show the world what they are capable of. It will be difficult but it certainly isn’t impossible. This is the first time Juventus have been able to make it this far in the competition since 2003 and they will want to be remembered, what better way than beating the cup holders?
My Expected Lineup:
Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Patrice Evra, Alvaro Morata, and Carlos Tevez
Man To Watch: Andrea Pirlo – Andrea Pirlo has recently returned from injury and has been extremely influential ever since his return. His passing and his eye for the game are a joy for anyone to watch and he will be more than prepared to show it against Los Merengues on the night. He is a man who has played some of the biggest games in world football and he thrives every single time.
Real Madrid CF:
Real Madrid go into the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League after an extremely difficult game in the weekend against Sevilla, which they were able to come out from with a 3-2 win. Carlo Ancelotti would have surely wanted to rest some players during the game but he wasn’t given the chance since it was a lot more intense as he would have liked. That doesn’t matter now though as they prepare for their 5th Champions League semi-final in a row on their road to “La Undecima”!
The main worries for the team are the injuries as players such as Luka Modric and Karim Benzema will be out for the tie and it could prove to be the difference in the match. Even with the injuries, Real Madrid were able to make it past Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals even though they were missing Modric, Benzema, Marcelo, and Gareth Bale. The depth in the squad is evident and it should be noted by Juventus.
The main problem that Los Merengues will face is their defense. They have been extremely weak at times and it could be extremely costly against the Italians. Schalke were very close to taking advantage of the defensive mishaps and Real Madrid were lucky to somehow come out with two clean sheets against Atletico.
Real Madrid’s Road So Far:
Real Madrid 5-1 FC Basel
Ludogorets 1-2 Real Madrid
Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool
FC Basel 0-1 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 4-0 Ludogorets
Schalke 0-2 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 3-4 Schalke
Atletico Madrid 0-0 Real Madrid
Real Madrid 1-0 Atletico Madrid
Los Blancos have started the competition very strong but were exposed mainly in the second round against Schalke after their 3-4 loss at the Santiago Bernabeu. If they are able to keep their defending well organized, then they will be able to make it through. That will be be their main problem against the attacking threats of players such as Vidal, Tevez and, the player that they are extremely familiar with, Alvaro Morata, who will want to show the Spanish club what they have missed out on by selling him.
My Predicted Lineup:
Iker Casillas, Daniel Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Isco, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Chicharito
Man To Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo – There is no denying Cristiano Ronaldo’s influence for Real Madrid as he was the reason that Los Blancos were able to make it to this round. Now, he will be their go-to guy once again as they look to make it to their second UEFA Champions League Final in two years.