Juventus saw their lead at the top of Champions League Group D reduced to one point as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Borussia Monchengladbach in Turin on Wednesday.
Amid poor Serie A form, the continental competition has generally proven a welcome distraction for last year’s beaten finalists, but Massimiliano Allegri’s side lacked a cutting edge at the Juventus Stadium in a game of few clear chances.
Monchengladbach’s form has been quite the opposite – winning four Bundesliga games in a row under caretaker boss Andre Schubert, while losing to Sevilla and Manchester City in Europe.
Schubert’s side remain bottom of the group but are off the mark having coped with Paul Pogba’s best efforts and survived strong penalty appeals for a clumsy challenge on Mario Mandzukic in the second half.
Gianluigi Buffon, who shook off a calf problem to start along with fellow injury doubt Mandzukic, had little to deal with as the Italian champions – held 0-0 by Inter on Sunday – saw their advantage slashed thanks to City’s 2-1 win against Sevilla.
Schubert named Granit Xhaka in his XI after the Swiss recovered from a knee problem, and an even but uneventful start saw Monchengladbach’s Raffael fire wide from the edge of the area eight minutes in.
Juve eventually found their feet midway through the half as Pogba set up Claudio Marchisio, who saw an effort deflected behind before Juan Cuadrado struck a powerful effort over the crossbar.
A Pogba attempt appeared destined for Yann Sommer’s goal before a timely Xhaka block – the Frenchman going close from distance again as the match approached the half-hour mark.
The visitors enjoyed their strongest spell shortly before half-time – Ibrahima Traore proving lively on the wing – although Alvaro Dominguez was perhaps fortunate to just get a booking for bringing down Alvaro Morata when almost clean through on goal.
Schubert’s men continued on the front foot early in the second half but were reminded of Juve’s threat when the hosts broke just short of the hour mark only to see the move break down with a poor Pogba pass in the final third.
Pogba went close again with a free-kick from the edge of the box, well saved by Sommer, before Mandzukic went down in the area under pressure from Dominguez after collecting Sami Khedira’s pass – all penalty appeals rejected.
Roberto Pereyra, Paulo Dybala and Simone Zaza replaced Cuadrado, Morata and Mandzukic respectively as Allegri sought to freshen up his forward line, but Juve’s attack continued to falter as they drew 0-0 for the second time in four days.
Monchengladbach’s hopes of progression remain slim, while Kevin De Bruyne’s late winner kept City’s hopes of claiming top spot ahead of Juve firmly alive at the midway point of the group stage.