Teams: Barcelona, Juventus
Competition: UEFA Champions League 2020/21
Matchday: Group Stage
Venue and time: Allianz Stadium and 10 pm CEST
Referee: Danny Makellie
This might come as a major disappointment for the fans throughout the globe, but the much-anticipated clash of Messi vs Ronaldo has been off the hook since the Portuguese has been tested positive during the COVID test and will not be playing this fixture.
FC Barcelona will face Juventus after the Catalans faced the Bianconeri during the UEFA Champions League group stages during the 2017/18 season. FC Barcelona started this season’s Champions League on a strong foot by a comprehensive 5-1 victory against the Hungarian side Ferencvaros at the Camp Nou. The men in black and white also started their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 victory against Dynamo Kyiv. Their new signing Alvaro Morata who is having a second stint with Juventus, scored both the goals.
The best memory for the Blaugranas meeting the Bianconeri was in the UEFA Champions League final during 2015 at Berlin where Barcelona won 3-1 in the finals to clinch their 5th UCL Title. Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi faced Juve legend Andrea Pirlo on the pitch during the finals, now, the Italian is the latest coach of Juventus and is excited to face Lionel Messi.
“For 15 years, Messi and Cristiano have done great things. For the first time, I’ll be taking on Messi as a coach, I’ll treat him with the enormous respect that he deserves.”
Head to Head:
Matches Played: 9
Barcelona wins: 3
Juventus wins: 2
Barcelona Expected Lineup:
Gerard Pique won’t be facing Juventus as the Spaniard received a red card against Ferencvaros. The most obvious choice for the gaffer will be Ronald Araujo. The Uruguayan has impressed the Barcelona bosses and the critics with a solid display, so the expectations will be high from him.
In the double pivot, Frenkie De Jong is a no brainer, but Koeman can replace Busquet’s with Pjanic. Busquet’s dip in his form and his diminishing performances in the recent games will make Koeman take the big step and bench him.
In the forward line, Lionel Messi will be a must alongside the Golden Boy Ansu Fati who has been out of this world and regularly scoring goals for the Catalan side. The tricky selection will be for the right-wing and the central attacking midfielder position.
The Brazilian, Phillipe Coutinho has suffered an injury, so Koeman will look for different options from the bench. For the central attacking midfield role, starting Pedri will be a good option since he impressed with his play in tight spaces and passes against Madrid. Another option can be the out of favour Carles Alena.
On the right, Trincao will be a good addition since the Portuguese has shown his quality and raised eyebrows of many fans with his maturity, work rate and clinical play. With Antoine Griezmann likely to be out of favour, this can be a perfect opportunity for Trincao to cement his place in the eleven.
So the starting eleven may look like this:
- Juventus is unbeaten in their 6 previous home matches against Barcelona in all competitions (W3 D3).
- This will be the 14th instance in which Juventus will be taking on Barcelona of which 11 previous clashes have come in UEFA Competitions.
- Barcelona is currently without a defeat in their last 6 matches vs an Italian opposition in the Champions League (W4 D2), since losing 0-3 to AS Roma in April 2018. The Catalans have only lost twice in their last 18 Champions League games against Italian clubs (W10 D6).
- Barcelona has only suffered 1 defeat in their last Champions League group stage matches (W10 D6), unbeaten in their last 10 matches.
This matchup will be interesting since both Juve coach Pirlo and Barcelona coach Koeman took charge of their respective teams in this summer. The individual clashes like Araujo vs Demiral, Frenkie De Jong vs Rabiot, Fati vs Kulusevski will be interesting. With both the teams having a turbulent start to the campaign, they will both be fighting for a win to boost their confidence. Barcelona in this competition have never won at the Allianz Stadium and will be looking to break the record with a comfortable win. Writer’s prediction for this match? It will be 2-1 in favour of Barcelona.