Juventus need to overcome a 2-goal deficit if they are to keep their dream of winning Champions League alive.
Real Madrid's era of unprecedented dominance in the Champions League (three consecutive titles) came to a shocking end when Ajax stunned the Spanish giants 4-1 at Santiago Bernabéu in the second-leg win to complete a historic 5-3 aggregate comeback victory.
Madrid's former star player Cristiano Ronaldo could also see his current team Juventus exit at the same stage when they welcome Atletico Madrid on March 13.
Atletico won the first leg 2-0, thanks to the goals from José Giménez and Diego Godín leaving the Italian champions an uphill task at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Juventus sit pretty at the top of the Serie A table and are on course to win their seventh consecutive Scudetto. But the ambition of Champions League crown is what drives the team. In recent past, The Old Lady has came tantalizingly close to be be crowned as the European Champion had it not been for Barcelona in 2015 and Real Madrid in 2017. It is the all consuming desire to win the Champion League trophy that made The Bianconeri buy Cristiano Ronaldo-Champion League's record goal scorer- past summer. But in a matter of twisted fortunes, both, Juventus and Ronaldo are now staring at the prospect of early elimination from the tournament.
In opposite camp are Atletico Madrid. The Los Rojiblancos have had a fairly decent season. Just 7 points separate them from La Liga table toppers Barcelona. With a healthy first leg league lead in their kitty, Atletico Madrid can further improve their season by progressing into the quarter-final stage of the Champions League. Like their opponents, Atletico Madrid too came close to win the Champions League title if not for Real Madrid in 2014.
Naturally, the two teams will fire on all cylinders at Turin.
Team NewsJuventus will have relatively fresh legs ready for the match. side after Massimiliano Allegri rotated his team for the Bianconeri’s previous outing in Serie A against Udinese. ,The Italian champions will miss the services of Juan Cuadrado, who continues to recover following knee surgery. Midfielder Sami Khedira remains unavailable due to a heart condition. However, Douglas Costa could return from a hamstring injury, but left back Alex Sandro will be suspended for the clash due to an accumulation of yellow cards. However, the fitness of its star players should bode well with the team.
Atletico's medical bulletin looks worrisome. Godin missed the team's 1-0 win over Leganes in La Liga with a muscular injury and chances are high that the Uruguayan could miss the high profile fixture. Diego Simeone’s problems at left back continue with the absence of Lucas Hernandez and Filipe Luis. Costa has also been struggling with muscular problems. His injury could make way for former Juventus forward Alvaro Morata to start alongside Antoine Griezmann in attack. Thomas Partey will miss the clash through suspension.
Juventus: Szczesny, Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Sciglio, Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala; Mandzukic, Ronaldo
Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Arias, Savic, Gimenez, Juanfran, Correa, R.Hernandez, Saul, Koke, Griezmann, Morata
Players to Watch out for
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Nothing stops Ronaldo from putting ball in the back of the net. The stylish forward has netted 21 goals and been involved in 8 assists. He is a perennial threat from set pieces. when team counter attacks, Ronaldo moves from one of the park to the other in blink of an eye. His record of being the all time record goal scorer in Champions League speaks for itself. In past, Ronaldo has been responsible for turning many lopsided ties in Real Madrid's favour. Juventus will be expecting more of the same when he takes field.
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
Quiet often when Griezmann has been pitted against Ronaldo, the former has fallen short. The French forward would like to change that narrative this time around. The 27-year-old had a great 2018 when he won the Europa League for Athletico Madrid following which he lifted the World Cup with France. Champions League is on title missing from his CV. With 18 goals and 9 assists, the star striker is always a cause of worry to any opposition.
Recent form (last five fixtures, across competitions)
Athletico Madrid: W-W-W-W-W
Betting Odds (bet365)
Athletico Madrid: 17/4
Other popular bets can be checked on Oddschecker.
Where to Watch
The match is scheduled to kick-off at 1.30 AM IST. It will be broadcast live on Sony Sports Network. The action can also be caught on the SonyLIV app.
A two-goal deficit is difficult to overcome in a Champions League fixture but with Ronaldo in side and home crowd cheering them on, Juventus can draw inspiration from Manchester United's performance against PSG.