Our latest Europa League rendezvous sees Alex Manninger head home to play against the very same team he started his career with as a youth member in SV Austria Salzburg, now known as FC Red Bull Salzburg, seventeen years later. Manninger, who was also born in Salzburg on June 4th 1977, will no doubt feel a tremendous amount of pleasure as he returns home to start in goal for Juventus in front of many family and friends.
The level of nostalgia might be at an all-time high for Manninger, but he’s aware that this will be an encounter against a team that although sit seventh domestically and are four games without a win in Europe, will try to get back into the running of qualification. Met by reporters at the airport on their way to Austria, Manninger answered a few questions. Here’s the gist of what our Austrian goalkeeper said:
‘… For me it will be a special game, but in the end those are three very important points. Salzburg are a very organized team, with a very technical coaching staff, that have lots of support from their fans. Granted they’ve started the domestic season poorly this year, but they certainly have the talent to cause us problems and on that day they’re looking to win as well. This will be an important match also for their team, staff, and fans, so it will be difficult for us in that sense. …’
Although as difficult as it may be, Juventus should theoretically be able to keep a clean sheet against a side that failed to score a goal in their last two European matches, especially considering our much improved backline. If Del Neri gets worried however, he only needs to pick up the phone and call ex-Bianconeri and ex-FC Salzburg coach, Giovanni Trapattoni, who I’m sure will be more than happy to answer any questions Luigi might have. Il Trap led Die Bullen to one and a half championships before he took the Ireland post in February 2008.
Tonight Del Neri will rest Milos Krasic, and tips Jorge Martinez to have a fabulous game on the right in his place. On the other side of the field, Pepe should get the nod in left midfield as Marchisio shifts back into his natural position with Sissoko in center midfield. Behind that midfield four, Marco Motta gets the job at right back, with Chiellini and Legrottaglie in the middle, and Paolo De Ceglie at left back.
Last but certainly not least, Del Neri will field Amauri and Del Piero in attack seeing as Fab-Quags and Iaquinta are both unavailable. Quite the debate went on about Amauri and his usefullness to the team recently, not to mention the various Giovinco conversations, so no doubt those who defended the number eleven’s quality will look to the multi-dimensionally challenged forward to put a few in the back of the net. Here are the official call-ups. Check the comments below for live streams, formations, and other last minute updates.
IERI... OGGI... DOMANI... SEMPRE JUVE!!!