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UEFA Champions League Preview: Copenhagen v Juventus

Juventus’ quest to end the club’s 17-year wait for European success will see them start their UEFA Champions League campaign in Copenhagen.

The Turin club were victorious in Europe’s premier club tournament and UEFA Super Cup in 1996 but have since endured something of a barren spell in continental competitions, reaching their last final in the 2002-03 season when they were defeated by AC Milan in the Champions League showpiece at Old Trafford.

Antonio Conte’s men travelled to Denmark in last season’s Champions League and could only take a point from their away match with FC Nordsjaelland.

Juve, though, did manage to remain unbeaten through the group phase before losing 4-0 on aggregate to eventual winners Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

Not that the setback had an impact on their domestic fortunes as Juve secured back-to-back Serie A titles

They are now ready to challenge for silverware on all fronts in 2013-14, particularly after some astute transfers in the close-season as Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente and Angelo Ogbonna arrived, adding competition, ability and depth.

While the Italian side have picked up two wins and drew 1-1 at Inter on Saturday so far in Serie A, Group B rivals Copenhagen have endured their worst start to a league season as they lost each of their first three games and could not muster a win until match number seven.

The Danish champions embarked on a 12-match winless streak in the league before beating Viborg earlier this month as Stale Solbakken’s managerial return ended an alarming slump.

In a group also containing Galatasaray and nine-time European champions Real Madrid, Solbakken’s side are firm favourites to finish bottom.

Copenhagen, however, will take solace from their last Champions League adventure in 2010-11 when they finished second only to Barcelona in the group stages before exiting at the hands of Chelsea in the knockout stages.

Juventus go into Tuesday’s tie on the back of a battling 1-1 draw at San Siro, with Conte optimistic about what the season could bring.

He said: “We played a good game against a team like Inter, who confirmed they will fight for the title. And we could even have gotten a second.

“Serie A is our real objective right now and we can achieve something historic this season. I saw my team play very well at a difficult ground.”

Sun 15 September, 2013
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