The clash between Bayern Munich and Juventus resembles a genuine Champions League classic and chances are we will witness plenty of excitement at Allianz Arena as well after the breathtaking encounter in Turin that ended 2-2, with the hosts coming from two goals behind to keep the tie alive.
If it hadn’t been for the serious defensive crisis, Bayern Munich would have probably secured the Bundesliga trophy by now as well as be in a better position to reach the Champions League quarter-finals, but even with all those problems, the Bavarians are still running strong. The goalless draw at Signal-Iduna Park ensured they remained in the driving seat for the league title, whereas they are on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League last eight after the 2-2 draw in Turin. Everything would have been different if they had held on to a two-goal lead, but Bayern, nonetheless, look the more likely side to go through. The weekend’s 5-0 triumph over Werder Bremen is enough to suggest that things have fallen back in place, and coach Pep Guardiola again has plenty of options to choose form, even if some important players continue to miss out. And having demonstrated their strength in the first match against Juventus, we believe the Bavarians will not allow any surprises at their Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening.
The likes of Robert Lewandowski, Douglas Costa, Juan Bernat and Arjen Robben should all be recalled after they were rested at the weekend.
Meanwhile, Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber are not yet ready to return from injury, but Javi Martinez could be ready to play.
While dominating Italian Serie A for several years now, Juventus have finally managed to raise the club’s profile in Europe as well, with last year’s road to Champions League final serving as a major lift for everyone at the club. The Bianconeri obviously want to reach the final stages all over again, but this time, they have mighty Bayern Munich standing between them and the quarter-final. Juventus have reason for optimism ahead of the return leg, not only due to the fact that they came from two goals down in the first match, but also thanks to some impressive displays on domestic stage. Granted, the 3-0 loss to Inter Milan in Coppa Italia was a blow, but at least the Bianconeri managed to make it to the final. On the other hand, they remain three points clear at the Serie A summit, and head into the Bayern game on the back of third straight league win without conceding. But, having only won one of last five Champions League fixtures on the road, Juventus will have to show a massive improvement if they want to get something from this game.
The latest reports suggest that Giorgio Chiellini has failed to recover from a thigh problem, meaning that Max Allegri will be forced to field a four-man back line.
The likes of Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra and Stephan Lichtsteiner should all be recalled to the starting line-up after they were rested at the weekend.
Key Factors to Consider
- Juventus are winless in last five meetings with Bayern (D2 L3)
- Bayern recorded a 2-0 win in their previous fixture in Munich
- The Bavarians won last nine Champions League games at home
- They kept three clean sheets in last four matches
- Juventus won just one of last five CL fixtures on the road
Even if Juventus did well to keep the tie alive with two late goals, we seriously doubt they can win at Allianz Arena, especially having failed to do so in four of last five away games in the competition. Bayern Munich can be trusted to get the job done and make it to the quarter-final.
Best Odds: 11/10