Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Match Preview: Juventus vs Barcelona


Two of European football's most famous names meet in northern Italy as Juventus, who are seeking to mark their 200th Uefa Champions League match with a 100th victory, welcome Barcelona, who have never beaten the Bianconeri in Turin, for the second round of Group G games.

Andrea Pirlo's first home match as Juve coach pits him against another man settling into a new job, Barcelona's Ronald Koeman. Both enjoyed impressive Matchday 1 victories in charge of their new teams, Juventus running out 2-0 winners at Dynamo Kyiv while five different Barcelona players got on the scoresheet in a 5-1 home success against Ferencváros.

Pirlo will need no reminding of his last encounter with Barcelona, his farewell appearance as a Juventus player – a 3-1 defeat in the 2015 Uefa Champions League final in Berlin.


The most high profile of the teams' 11 meetings came five years ago at the Olympiastadion, where Barcelona triumphed 3-1. Ivan Rakitic gave Luis Enrique's side a fourth-minute lead and, though Álvaro Morata levelled for Massimiliano Allegri's Juve ten minutes after halftime, Luis Suárez (68) and Neymar (90+7) sealed Barça's fourth Uefa Champions League title in ten years.

Marc-André ter Stegen, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi all started that final for Barcelona; in addition to Pirlo, Juve's line-up included Gianluigi Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci and goalscorer Morata.

Most recently the teams were paired in the 2017/18 group stage with Messi scoring twice in Barcelona's 3-0 victory in Spain before a goalless draw in Turin.

That extended Juve's unbeaten home run against Barcelona to five matches (W2 D3). The Bianconeri laid the groundwork for their 2016/17 quarterfinal elimination of Barcelona in Turin, where two goals from Paulo Dybala (7, 22) were supplemented by Giorgio Chiellini's strike (55). The second leg at the Camp Nou ended goalless.

The win in the 2015 final was Barcelona's first victory against Juve since 1991. Then, Johan Cruyff's charges beat a Juventus side coached by Gigi Maifredi 3-1 at home in their European Cup Winners' Cup semifinal first leg, Hristo Stoichkov scoring twice, and held on to progress despite Roberto Baggio's second-leg strike.

The teams' first meetings came in the 1985/86 European Champion Clubs' Cup quarterfinals when Barcelona again prevailed, Julio Alberto getting the only goal of the Camp Nou first leg. Barça struck first in the Turin return too, through Steve Archibald, and advanced despite Michel Platini's 44th-minute equaliser.

However, Juve ousted the Blaugrana in the 2002/03 Uefa Champions League quarterfinals. The first game in Turin finished 1-1, before Juve substitute Marcelo Zalayeta scored in extra time at the Camp Nou to give Juve a 2-1 win on the night and 3-2 overall.

Barcelona hold a slight edge in the teams' 11 encounters so far, having registered four wins, four draws and three defeats, with 13 goals scored and ten conceded.



Champions of Italy for a record ninth season in a row in 2019/20, and 36th time in all, this is Juve's 21st Uefa Champions League campaign; they have reached the last 16 in 17 of those seasons.

The Bianconeri, under Maurizio Sarri, finished first in their section ahead of Atlético de Madrid in last season's competition but bowed out in the round of 16, eliminated by Lyon on away goals (0-1 a, 2-1 h).

Juve won five of their six Group D games in last season's competition to finish six points clear at the top. They dropped points only in their first fixture, being pegged back by two late Atlético goals in a 2-2 draw in Spain, but went on to beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 in Italy and Lokomotiv Moskva 2-1 home and away. A 1-0 home win against Atlético and a 2-0 success at Leverkusen completed the section.

The Turin team have finished first in their Uefa Champions League section on 13 occasions, including in each of the last two seasons.

Winners in 1985 and 1996, Juventus have played in nine European Cup finals – losing a record seven, including all of their last five.

Pirlo replaced Sarri as Juve coach on 8 August.

Juventus have lost only four of their 42 European matches at the Juventus Stadium (W26 D12), although three of

those defeats have come in their last ten matches.

Juve have won five of their last seven matches against Spanish clubs, home and away (D1 L1). A 0-3 defeat by Real Madrid in the 2017/18 quarterfinal first leg – which ended Juve's five-year, 27-match unbeaten home run in Uefa competition (W16 D11) – is the Bianconeri's only loss in their last 13 home matches against Liga visitors (W8 D4).


Second in the Spanish Liga behind Real Madrid last season, this is Barcelona's 25th Uefa Champions League campaign, a competition record they share with Madrid. They have reached the round of 16 or better for the last 16 seasons, winning their group every year from 2007/08 onwards and a record 21 times in all. They are unbeaten in their last three group stage campaigns, and have come through their section undefeated a record 13 times. It is 20 years since Barça last failed to finish in the top two of their Uefa Champions League group.

In 2019/20, Barcelona picked up 14 points to finish four clear of Borussia Dortmund in their section. They picked up seven points both home and away, beating Internazionale 2-1 twice, winning by the same score at Slavia Praha and also defeating Dortmund 3-1 at the Camp Nou; they were held to goalless draws in Germany and at home by Slavia.

Having replaced Ernesto Valverde with Quique Setién as coach, the Blaugrana then saw off Napoli in the round of 16 (1-1 a, 3-1 h), only to suffer their heaviest European loss in the quarterfinals in Lisbon as they went down 8-2 to Bayern.

That defeat was only Barcelona's third loss in their last 33 Uefa Champions League fixtures (W20 D10).

Barcelona have appeared in 13 successive Uefa Champions League quarterfinals, a competition record. They last failed to reach the last eight in 2006/07.

Barcelona have been European champions on five occasions, most recently in 2015 after beating Juve. Koeman, who succeeded Setién as coach in August, scored the winner in their first final victory against Sampdoria in 1992.

Messi's goal on Matchday 1 made him the first player to score in 16 successive Uefa Champions League campaigns.

Already the youngest player to score in the Uefa Champions League, Ansu Fati was also on target against Ferencváros; Pedri's strike meant for the first time in the competition's history, two players under 18 had found the net in the same match.

Fati's goal on Matchday 1, aged 17 years 355 days, made him the first player to score more than once in the Uefa Champions League before his 18th birthday.

Barça have won only six of their last 17 away matches in European competition (D7 L4), although they are unbeaten in their last four (W2 D2).

The Blaugrana's record away to Serie A clubs is W7 D12 L7. Last season's 2-1 win at Inter on Matchday 6 is their only victory in their last ten games in the country (D6 L3).

Barcelona are unbeaten in their last six games against Serie A sides (W4 D2), beating Napoli in the 2019/20 round of 16 (1-1 a, 3-1 h).


Miralem Pjanic left Juventus for Barcelona this summer, having scored 22 goals in his 178 appearances for the Italian side. Pjanic won the Serie A title in each of his four seasons in Turin, adding the Coppa Italia in 2017 and 2018.

He had played for Roma between 2011 and 2016.

Arthur, who had joined Barcelona in 2018, moved to Juventus this summer having made 72 appearances in all competitions for the Blaugrana, winning the 2018/19 Liga title.

Goalkeeper Neto played for Juventus between 2015 and 2017, featuring 11 times in Serie A. He was a Fiorentina player between 2011 and 2015.

Cristiano Ronaldo played for Real Madrid between 2009 and 2018. He has scored 18 goals in his 33 career appearances against Barcelona.

• Have also played in Spain:

Álvaro Morata (Real Madrid 2008–14 & 2016/17, Atlético de Madrid 2019–20)

Danilo (Real Madrid 2015–17)

• Has played in Italy:

Philippe Coutinho (Internazionale 2010–13)

In November 2019 Messi scored for Argentina in friendly games against Rodrigo Bentancur's Uruguay (2-2) and a Brazil side fielding Danilo and Arthur (1-0).

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw against a Spain side including Piqué and Busquets in the group stage of the 2018 Fifa World Cup. 11

Piqué and Busquets converted spot kicks past Buffon as Spain beat Italy 7-6 on penalties in the 2013 Fifa Confederations Cup semifinal. Bonucci missed his penalty.

Alba scored past Buffon in Spain's 4-0 victory over Italy in the Uefa EURO 2012 final. Piqué and Busquets were also in the Spain team while the Azzurri side included Bonucci and Chiellini as well as Pirlo.

• Have played together:

Matthijs de Ligt & Frenkie de Jong (Ajax 2016–19)

Wojciech Szczesny & Miralem Pjanic (Roma 2015/16)

• International teammates:

Álvaro Morata & Sergio Busquets, Ansu Fati (Spain)

Adrien Rabiot & Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé, Clément Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti (France)

Paulo Dybala & Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Sergiño Dest & Weston McKennie (United States)

Arthur, Alex Sandro, Danilo & Philippe Coutinho (Brazil)

Cristiano Ronaldo & Francisco Trincão (Portugal)

Matthijs de Ligt & Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands)



• Summer transfers

In: Arthur (Barcelona), Álvaro Morata (Atlético de Madrid, loan), Weston McKennie (Schalke, loan), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina, loan)

Out: Miralem Pjanic (Barcelona), Simone Muratore (Atalanta), Cristian Romero (Atalanta), Daniele Rugani (Rennes, loan), Emre Can (Dortmund), Gonzalo Higuaín (Inter Miami), Blaise Matuidi (Inter Miami), Luca Pellegrini (Genoa, loan), Marko Pjaca (Genoa, loan), Douglas Costa (Bayern, loan), Hans Nicolussi (Parma, loan), Mattia De Sciglio (Lyon, loan)

Aaron Ramsey made his 50th appearance in the Uefa Champions League, group stage to final, on Matchday 1.

Juventus, who are trying to win a tenth consecutive Scudetto, kicked off the season under new coach Andrea Pirlo with a 3-0 win against Sampdoria before draws at Roma (2-2) and Crotone (1-1) and, on Sunday, at home to Verona (1-1).

New arrival Dejan Kulusevski, who spent last season on loan at Parma, scored just 13 minutes into his Juve debut against Sampdoria. He also got a late equaliser against Verona at the weekend.

Cristiano Ronaldo has three goals in two Serie A appearances this season. He has now scored 450 goals in the top five European leagues.

Gianluigi Buffon made his 650th Serie A appearance at Crotone on 17 October; he is the first player to reach that landmark.

Morata scored Juve's goal at Crotone, his first for the Bianconeri in Serie A since 24 April 2016, and got both at Dynamo.

On 8 September Ronaldo took his international goal tally to 101 with both in Portugal's 2-0 Uefa Nations League win against Sweden.

Giorgio Chiellini was replaced midway through the first half at Dynamo on Matchday 1 having suffered an injury to his right thigh, and is expected to be out of action for around ten days.

Alex Sandro has not played this season and suffered a thigh injury in mid-September.

Matthijs de Ligt has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on his right shoulder in August.

Ronaldo and new signing McKennie (both illness) have both been on the sidelines, although the latter was an unused substitute against Verona.

Ronaldo finished tenth in the ranking for the 2019/20 Uefa Men's Player of the Year award.


• Summer transfers

In: Miralem Pjanic (Juventus), Trincão (Braga), Sergiño Dest (Ajax), Pedri (Las Palmas), Matheus Fernandes (Palmeiras)

Out: Arthur Melo (Juventus), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Arturo Vidal (Inter), Nélson Semedo (Wolves), Luis Suárez (Atlético), Moussa Wagué (PAOK, loan), Marc Cucurella (Getafe), Chumi (Almería), Carles Pérez (Roma), Jean-Clair Todibo (Benfica, loan), Juan Miranda (Real Betis, loan), Rafinha (Paris)

Sergi Roberto's next appearance in the Uefa Champions League, group stage to final, will be his 50th. He played in his 50th Uefa club competition game on Matchday 1.

Barcelona were unbeaten in their first three games under new coach Ronald Koeman (W2 D1) but have lost two of the last three (W1), going down 1-0 at Getafe on 17 October and, on Saturday, 3-1 at home to Real Madrid.

Sergiño Dest became the first American to play for Barcelona when he made his debut as a subsitute in a 1-1 home draw against Sevilla on 4 October.

Ansu Fati has scored four goals in five Liga appearances this season. His goal against Madrid at the weekend, aged 17 years 359 days, made him the youngest scorer in the Clásico in the 21st century.

Lionel Messi scored a penalty winner for Argentina in their 1-0 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying victory against Ecuador on 8 October.

Antoine Griezmann scored in France's 7-1 friendly victory over Ukraine on 7 October and in the 2-1 Uefa Nations League victory over Croatia seven days later.

Philippe Coutinho was on target in Brazil's 5-0 win against Bolivia in World Cup qualifying on 9 October.

Jordi Alba picked up a hamstring injury in Barça's 1-1 draw with Sevilla on 4 October, returning against Madrid on Saturday when he set up Fati's goal.

Marc-André ter Stegen has not played since the 8-2 Uefa Champions League quarterfinal defeat to Bayern on 14 August due to a knee injury.

Samuel Umtiti has been out since June because of a knee problem.


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