Juventus learned the hard way about becoming one of Europe's elite teams again

Lennart Preiss

I could sit here and say to you all "Hey, let's break this thing down!" or something along those lines. I could hand out player ratings and try to talk tactics or intelligent stuff like that. But that's not what we're going for here. Not after a second straight 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich.

But let's be honest, who really wants to keep talking about all of that?

Exactly my point. I don't plan on revisiting things even though it's just sitting on my DVR waiting to be watched. Nope, not gonna do it. Not even tempted to.

The thing that popped up immediately after Juventus' loss? How Juve can get better — immediately. It's only natural. This season taught us to dream again when it comes to competing on the grand European stage. There was fantacalcio. Lots and lots of fantacalcio. The endless debate of who Beppe Marotta needs to sign this summer. Translation: GIMME A STRIKER GIMME A STRIKER GIMME A STRIKER.

Again, only natural when Juve gets shutout in two straight games in the Champions League.

(Although I'm sure Fernando Llorente will have something to say about all of this when he joins the club and officially signs his contract in June.)

The bigger matter is this: Antonio Conte and Juventus were taught a lesson by the best teacher of them all, Bayern Munich. You want to club to model yourselves after, well they just passed through Turin a couple days ago and look to be making a B-line right for the Champions League final at Wembley.

"They are all very physical, work very hard and do so with quality. In football you have to be honest and tip your hat when you find stronger teams. This was an opportunity for us and we were basically newcomers to the Champions League after so many years out. We reached the quarterfinals, which in my view was something extraordinary.

"Now we know there is a long and pretty hard road to go on. That shouldn't scare us, but it should help us keep our feet on the ground and not hear some talking about the Treble in preseason. Those who say things like that have clearly never won anything in their lives.

"When we were paired with Bayern, I said this was an opportunity for us to face an extremely strong side and understand the gap that separated us from the superpowers."

-- Antonio Conte (via ESPNFC)

That's a lot to digest from Il Mister. Bayern are better than Juventus. I will admit that and not feel guilty about it. That's not exactly a secret after the quarterfinals were over and done with anyways, so I'm not going out on a limb to try and prove myself to be some kind of footballing guru.

But the bigger thing is how Conte and Juve learn from this — both in terms of how to improve the squad, but also how to deal with the demands that Champions League football takes on a team and its coach.

Think about it for a second. This time two years ago, Conte was coaching in Serie B. For all that he has achieved since he came back to Turin to be Juventus' manager, coaching in Europe was the one thing he hadn't done before this season. In terms of managing games in Europe, he's as green as anybody in this season's field, let alone one that went as far as the round of eight this season.

Conte has plenty to learn when it comes to coaching in Europe compared to in Italy. The players — whether they're as experienced as Andrea Pirlo or Gigi Buffon or Champions League newcomers like Leonardo Bonucci or Arturo Vidal — are in the same boat. While this was the time where Juve tried to achieve the utmost European glory as possible, it was, like Conte said, the first time much of the Juve squad have played in Europe in quite a few years.

All of this, of course, won't be known for months and months until Juve begin their next European adventure. But at least if Juve were to experience something like this, they learned from the best. And that, while it still may sting, could turn out to be the best thing of all.

The teachers taught. Now we only hope the students listened.

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