Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon sees Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Sevilla as an opportunity to restore the struggling Serie A champions’ confidence.
Buffon and Juve enjoyed a stunning 2014-15, winning Serie A for the fourth straight year in a row while also lifting the Coppa Italia and reaching the final of the Champions League, where they lost to Barcelona.
However, it has been dreadful start to the new campaign for Massimiliano Allegri’s men, who suffered a third league defeat of the season on Saturday with a 2-1 loss at Napoli.
Juve are 15th in Serie A on five points, 10 points adrift of top two Fiorentina and Inter, with the high point of their campaign coming in a 2-1 win over Manchester City in the Champions League earlier this month.
Allegri’s side pulled off an excellent comeback to claim all three points at the Etihad Stadium, with goalkeeper Buffon producing a string of fine saves.
And the 37-year-old is hopeful the visit of Sevilla to Turin can provide a springboard for Juve’s league form.
He told Sky Sport Italia: “The Champions League gives us an excellent opportunity to rediscover our confidence and spark. We need to face Sevilla with ferocity, determination and a healthy desire to surprise.”
Juve have been boosted by the return of midfielder Sami Khedira to first-team training after he suffered a thigh injury last month.
While Khedira could feature against Sevilla, Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Marchisio are both out with similar issues, but Stephan Lichtsteiner is available again after recovering from breathing problems that kept him out of the Napoli game.
Sevilla return to the scene of their first of two consecutive Europa League triumphs with a number of players on the sidelines.
Ever Banega has a knee problem, Sergio Escudero has a muscle injury, Daniel Carrico and Gael Kakuta are nursing hamstring complaints and Adil Rami (groin) is also unavailable.
The Spanish side made a strong start to the competition by cruising to a 3-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in their opening Group D game but, similar to Juve, have found life difficult in La Liga with five points from six games.
And, despite that form and the absences affecting his team, coach Unai Emery is relishing the contest with Juve.
“Playing against Juventus is a great opportunity to show the whole of Europe what we are capable of,” Emery said following the victory over Rayo Vallecano at the weekend.
“We’re facing the vice-champions of Europe, a big team, and our only objective is to give a good account of ourselves.”