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Week two of the Champions League takes Barça on a trip to Turin, Italy for one of the classic fixtures in European football. A mighty clash awaits between two teams that have won 21 league titles between them since the turn of the century, and who have faced each other in some classic encounters in recent years.
Founded in 1897 by Torinese students, Juventus (meaning ‘youth’) have won twice as many Serie A titles (36) as any other club (the two main Milan clubs have 18 each) and is also by far the most widely supported team, with swathes of fans not just in the Piedmont region but all around the country.
The club has had more different Ballon d’Or winners (8) than any other (John Charles, Omar Sívori, Dino Zoff, Paolo Rossi, Michel Platini, Roberto Baggio, Zinedine Zidane and Pavel Nedved), but perhaps rather surprisingly has only been champion of Europe on two occasions: in 1985 (against Liverpool on the night of the tragedy at Heysel) and in 1996 (on penalties against Ajax).
Extraordinarily, Juve have reached seven other finals and lost all of them (a record), the most recent being in 2015 (against FC Barcelona) and 2017 (against Real Madrid).
No side has ever dominated Italian football in quite the same way as ‘The Old Lady of Turin’ in the last decade, winning an unprecedented nine Scudettos in a row.
Juventus Stadium, also known as the Allianz Stadium, has been the club’s home since 2011, when it replaced the Stadio delle Alpi that Juve used to share with local rivals Torino. The ground seats 41,507 people, but this game will of course be played behind closed doors due to Covid-19.
Departures from last season include Argentinian Gonzalo Higuaín and Frenchman Blaise Matuidi, who have joined David Beckham’s Inter Miami project in MLS, Brazilian Douglas Costa on loan to Bayern and Miralem Pjanic, who has of course joined Barça
Arthur Melo headed in the opposite direction, where he is joined by such other new recruits as American Weston McKennie (from Schalke), Rolando Mandragora (from Udinese), Federico Chiesa (from Fiorentina) and Álvaro Morata (on loan from Atlético Madrid).
Juventus may be unbeaten in Serie A, but they haven’t got off to a storming start in 2020/21 and in their last two games have been held to 1-1 draws by Crotone and Hellas Verona – a late header from Dejan Kulusevski saving a point in the latter.
After five games, they’re fifth and four points adrift of leaders AC Milan. They kicked off their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win at Dynamo Kyiv, both goals coming from Spaniard Alvaro Morata.
Head to head
Barça and Juventus know all about each other, and in 13 previous meetings in European competition the record is four wins for Barça, five for the Italians and four draws. The most memorable of those games was obviously the Champions League Final in 2015, which Barça won 3-1 in Berlin. Juve got their revenge two years later by winning in the quarter finals. The teams also crossed paths in the group stage two seasons ago.
1970/71 UEFA Cup Second Round
Juventus won 4-2 on aggregate
1985/86 European Cup Quarter Final
Barça won 2-1 on aggregate
1990/91 Cup Winners' Cup Semi Final
Barça won 3-2 on aggregate
2002/03 Champions League Quarter Final
Juventus won 3-2 on aggregate
2014/15 Champions League Final
Barça won 3-1
2016/17 Champions League Quarter Final
Juventus won 3-0 on aggregate
2017/18 Champions League Group Stage
Barça 3-0 Juventus / Juventus 0-0 Barça
The Champions League highlights of FC Barcelona v Juventus
In addition to Ter Stegen and Samuel Umtiti, Philippe Coutinho is now also missing from the Barça squad with a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, after being red carded against Ferencváros, Gerard Piqué is suspended for this one.
Ronald Koeman has therefore travelled to Italy with the following players: Dest, Araujo, Sergio Busquets, Aleñá, Griezmann, Pjanic, Braithwaite, Messi, Dembélé, Riqui Puig, Neto, Lenglet, Pedri, Trincao, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, De Jong, Ansu Fati, Junior, Iñaki Peña and Arnau Tenas.
For Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for Covid-19 last week and has yet to return a negative second result, meaning he is unavailable for the Italian outfit. Otherwise, it’s in defence where Juve are most struggling, with Giorgio Chiellini and Matthijs de Ligt having joined Alex Sandro in the treatment room.
Did you know?
Current Juve manager Andrea Pirlo’s final game as a player was the 3-1 defeat to Barça in the 2015 Champions League Final.
Juve have only lost four of their last 42 home fixtures in Europe, but three of those have come in the last ten games.
Barça were unbeaten in the group stage in the last three editions, and have only lost one of their last 17 away games in this round. But they have only won 6 of their last 17 away games in the Champions League as a whole, and have never won a competitive match at the home of Juventus.
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