UCL Preview: Juventus vs Barcelona

A Uefa Champions League game against Juventus brings back happy memories of the 2015 final for Barcelona manager Luis Enrique but both coaches acknowledge they are in for a titanic battle.

Match background

Barcelona mounted a remarkable comeback to reach the quarterfinals, and their reward is a tie against a Juventus side whom they thwarted to claim their most recent Uefa Champions League crown two seasons ago.

Having produced a Uefa Champions League record in retrieving their tie against Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round, Barcelona now travel to Turin having never won away to Juve – but with memories of their 2015 success against the Bianconeri still fresh in the memory.

Previous meetings

The teams’ seventh and most recent contest came in the 2015 Uefa Champions League final in Berlin, when Barcelona ran out 3-1 winners to take the trophy for the fifth time. Ivan Rakitic gave Luis Enrique’s side, featuring current Juve defender Dani Alves, a fourth-minute lead and though Álvaro Morata levelled for Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve 10 minutes after half-time, Luis Suárez (68) and Neymar (90+7) wrapped up Barça’s fourth triumph in 10 years.

The teams at the Olympiastadion on 6 June 2015 were:

Juventus: Buffon, Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Evra (Coman 89), Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba, Vidal (Pereyra 79), Morata (Llorente 85), Tévez.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Alves, Piqué. Mascherano, Alba, Busquets, Rakitic (Mathieu 90+1), Iniesta (Xavi 78), Messi, Suárez (Pedro 90+6), Neymar.

Form Guide

That was Barça’s third win against Juve, and their first since 1991. Then, Johan Cruyff’s team had beaten a Juventus side coached by Gigi Maifredi 3-1 at home in their European Cup Winners’ Cup semifinal first leg thanks to goals from Hristo Stoichkov (56, 60) and Jon Andoni Goikoetxea (76). That overturned Pierluigi Casiraghi’s 12th-minute opener for Juve, who went out despite winning the second leg 1-0 with a 61st-minute Roberto Baggio strike.

That was the teams’ second encounter. The first came in the 1985/86 European Champion Clubs’ Cup quarterfinals when Barcelona again came out on top, Julio Alberto scoring the only goal of the first leg at the Camp Nou. Barça again struck first in the Turin second leg, through Steve Archibald, and went through despite Michel Platini’s 44th-minute equaliser.

Current Barcelona coach Luis Enrique appeared in both matches of Juve’s sole two-legged success against the Blaugrana, in the 2002/03 Uefa Champions League quarterfinals. The first game in Turin finished 1-1, Javier Saviola’s 78th-minute effort cancelling out Paolo Montero’s 16th minute goal for the home side.

The teams at the Stadio Delle Alpi on 9 April 2003 were:

Juventus: Buffon, Ferrara, Tacchinardi, Montero, Tudor (Birindelli 61), Thuram, Zambrotta (Zalayeta 67), Davids, Nedved, Camoranesi, Del Piero (Di Vaio 82).

Barcelona: Bonano, Reiziger, F De Boer, Puyol, Motta, Gabri, Xavi (Gerard 74), Riquelme (Mendieta 63), Overmars (Enrique 83), Kluivert, Saviola.

In the second leg at the Camp Nou, Xavi Hernández’s 66th-minute strike annulled Pavel Nedved’s goal for Juve 13 minutes earlier and sent the tie into extra time, with Juve reduced to 10 men by Edgar Davids’ 79th-minute red card.

With penalties looming, however, Juve substitute Marcelo Zalayeta scored the decisive goal (114) to take the Italians into the last four.

Match Background

Juventus

This is Juve’s 17th European Cup quarterfinal – their record reads W11 L5. This is their 10th quarterfinal of the Uefa Champions League era, but just their third in the last seven attempts.

The Bianconeri are on a 21-match (W12 D9) unbeaten home run in Uefa competition, dating back to a 2-0 loss against FC Bayern München in April 2013.

• Juventus have won two of their four home games in this season’s competition, drawing the other two. Against FC Porto in the round of 16 second leg they were 1-0 victors in Turin, going through having won 2-0 away.

• Juve’s record in two-legged ties against Spanish clubs is W8 L6.

Juventus have already faced Spanish opposition this term, drawing 0-0 at home to Sevilla FC on matchday one. They won the reverse fixture in Spain 3-1.

Juve’s overall home record against Liga opposition is W14 D8 L2.

Barcelona

Barça are in the quarterfinals for a record 10th season in a row. Their record in the last eight of the European Cup overall is W14 L4, with two of those defeats coming in the last three seasons, both against Club Atlético de Madrid.

Before losing to Atlético in 2014, Barcelona’s last quarterfinal defeat had been against Juve in 2002/03. 9

In dispatching Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 in their round of 16 second leg, Barcelona became the first team in Uefa Champions League history to qualify for the next round by overhauling a first-leg deficit of four goals. RC Deportivo La Coruña previously held the record for the biggest first-leg arrears overcome in the Uefa Champions League era, recovering from a 4-1 home loss to AC Milan with a 4-0 home win in the 2003/04 quarterfinals.

Barcelona have lost two of their last three away games in the Uefa Champions League, including the 4-0 defeat at Paris in the round of 16 first leg. They have won just four of their last 10 away matches in the competition, drawing two and losing four.

Barcelona’s record in two-legged ties against Italian clubs is W8 L3.

Their last visit to Italy ended in a 1-1 draw at AS Roma in last season’s group stage. Overall, Barcelona’s record away to Serie A clubs is W6 D9 L5.

Coach and player links

Aside from losing the 2015 Uefa Champions League final against Barcelona, Allegri suffered Uefa Champions League elimination against Barcelona in two successive seasons as AC Milan coach, in the 2011/12 quarterfinals (1-3) and the 2012/13 round of 16 (2-4). His full record in nine games against the Blaugrana is W1 D3 L5.

Luis Enrique coached Roma in 2011/12 and faced Juventus three times. In Serie A, he earned a 1-1 home draw, Giorgio Chiellini on target for the Bianconeri, but endured a 4-0 away loss with Marchisio among Juve’s scorers. Roma also lost 3-0 in a Coppa Italia quarterfinal in Turin.

Dani Alves played for Barcelona between 2008 and 2016, helping the Catalan side win the Uefa Champions League three times – in 2009, when he was suspended for the final, 2011 and 2015, at the expense of Juventus. He lifted 23 trophies with the Blaugrana, making 391 appearances.

Also played in Spain:

Mario Mandžukic, Atlético (2014/15)

Sami Khedira, Madrid (2010–15)

Gonzalo Higuaín, Madrid (2007–13)

Khedira struck Real Madrid’s opener in a 2-1 Liga win at Barcelona in 2012, his only goal in 18 games against the

Catalan club for VfB Stuttgart and Real Madrid.

Higuaín played 18 times against Barcelona in all competitions during his spell at Madrid, bagging three goals.

Mandžukic got Club Atlético de Madrid’s goal from the penalty spot in a 3-1 league defeat at Barcelona on 11 January 2015.

Lucas Digne was at Roma in 2015/16, scoring three goals in 33 Serie A games and playing alongside Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic.

Have also played together:

Neymar and Alex Sandro (Santos 2010/11)

Javier Mascherano and Gonzalo Higuaín (River Plate 2004/05)

Arda Turan and Mario Mandžukic (Clube Atlético de Madrid 2014/15)

International teammates:

Marc-André ter Stegen and Sami Khedira (Germany)

Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and Gonzalo Higuaín, Paulo Dybala (Argentina)

Dani Alves, Alex Sandro and Neymar, Rafinha (Brazil)

Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandžukic, Marko Pjaca (Croatia)

Denis Suárez scored against Higuaín’s Napoli as Villarreal defeated the Partenopei 2-1 on aggregate in last season’s Uefa Europa League round of 32.

Rakitic has special memories of the Juventus Stadium having landed the Uefa Europa League trophy there with Sevilla FC in 2014 following a penalties win against SL Benfica.

Samuel Umtiti was in Olympique Lyonnais’ B team when Pjanic played for the senior side between 2008 and 2011.

Chiellini notched the opener as Italy beat Spain 2-0 in the Uefa EURO 2016 round of 16. Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci were also in the Italy side while Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta featured for Spain.

Iniesta, Piqué and Busquets converted spot kicks past Buffon as Spain edged out Italy 7-6 on penalties in the 2013 Fifa Confederations Cup semifinal. Bonucci missed the decisive one for Italy. Neymar also scored past Buffon in Brazil’s 4-2 group success over Italy earlier in the tournament.

Alba netted Spain’s second goal past Buffon in a 4-0 dismissal of Italy in the Uefa Euro 2012 final. 

Busquets and Iniesta were also in the Spain team while the Azzurri side included Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini and Claudio Marchisio.

Match facts

Juventus

Juan Cuadrado is a booking away from a ban.

Juventus have won their last 32 home games in Serie A.

The Bianconeri suffered their first defeat in 16 matches when they lost 3-2 at Napoli, where Higuaín scored twice against his former club, on 5 April in the second leg of their Coppa Italia semifinal.

Winners of the last two editions of the Coppa Italia, Allegri’s men prevailed 5-4 on aggregate against Napoli and will play SS Lazio in the final in June.

Buffon made the 1,000th senior appearance of his career on 24 March as Italy defeated Albania 2-0 in the European qualifiers for the Fifa World Cup. In the process he surpassed Iker Casillas as the most-capped European player with 168 appearances.

Pjaca will be out for the rest of the season after tearing the cruciate ligament in his right knee during Croatia’s friendly against Estonia on 28 March.

Barcelona

Neymar, Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Piqué are a booking away from a ban. Busquets serves a one-match suspension.

Barcelona lost 2-1 at RC Deportivo La Coruña three days after their 6-1 victory over Paris. They responded by winning their three subsequent Liga fixtures only to go down 2-0 to Málaga CF on Saturday.

Suárez had scored in each of his last five appearances for the Blaugrana before Saturday.

Messi is on a run of 12 goals in his past ten outings for club and country. He has surpassed the 25-goal mark in the Liga for the eighth successive season.

Carles Aleña, 19, made his Liga debut for Barcelona in the 4-1 success at Granada CF on 2 April.

Neymar scored in Brazil’s 4-1 win against Uruguay on 23 March and the 3-0 triumph over Paraguay five days later as the Seleção became the first nation to qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup. However, he was sent off for Barcelona for the first time on Saturday.

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