After defeating PSG nearly a month ago and advancing to the quarter-final, Real Madrid will face for the first time against Juventus since defeating them in last year’s Champions League Final in Cardiff. This time, they meet in the quarter-final where the 1st leg takes place at Juventus Stadium in Turin.
Real have won their last 3 matches in La Liga, all since eliminating PSG, and have been in much better form as of late considering how questionable they’ve been all season. They currently sit third in the league table. Juventus are first in Serie A and haven’t lost a match since November. They advanced to the quarter-final after defeating Tottenham at Wembley.
There are several players Real must watch that have been especially dangerous for Juventus. One of them is former Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain. He has five goals in the Champions League this season and was one of the main reasons Juve made it past Spurs.
Paulo Dybala is another player that could be trouble. While he struggled earlier in the season, he’s appears to be hitting top form yet again and could prove to be a dangerous weapon for them.
Juventus are suffering through several losses, though.
Real Madrid have a fully healthy and active squad for this 1st leg. Nacho was the only questionable injury, but even he is on Real’s released squad list.
Juventus are missing several of their starters including: Pjanic, Bernadeschi, and Benatia. Medhi Benatia and Miralem Pjanic are both serving suspensions and will miss the 1st leg in Turin. Federico Bernardeschi will miss out due to injury.
Alex Sandro and Mario Mandzukic were both questionable for this match, but are listed in Juventus’ released squad.
Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema
Zidane could decide to not start with Gareth Bale, though he played exceptionally well against Las Palmas on Saturday. He’s been pretty outstanding in most of his starts this season, scoring 11 goals in just 15 starts. It is possible, though, that Zidane starts Isco in the playmaker role or even starts Vasquez over Bale. Llorente, Kovacic, Ceballos, and Mayoral are available to come off the bench as substitutes.
Buffon; De Sciglio, Barzagli, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Matuidi, Marchisio; Dybala, Cuadrado, Higuain
Max Allegri himself could go with several different options in his starting lineup. He has Mandzukic, Douglas Costa, Lichtsteiner, and Marchisio at his disposal to use as needed. Their biggest break is having Chiellini back when he questionable to even play just a few weeks ago.
2-1 Real Madrid-Juventus
Juventus are known for their strong defense, so it shouldn’t be expected that this will be a high-scoring match. Real being in peak form should be helpful in securing a win on the road. It may prove to be better to start on the road first if Real are able to get a win in Turin.
Best case scenario of course is a win, but it wouldn’t be terrible if Real went back to the Santiago Bernabeu for the 2nd leg tied. Juventus are a strong team when they are on form and are amongst the best teams defensively. I would say Real’s lineup is better on paper, especially when you see how well they’ve played in the Champions League and against PSG. And, of course, having Ronaldo for this competition is always a factor in favor of Real.
This should be an entertaining one, with hopefully a similar result to the final last year when it’s all said and done.