There could be a couple of ways to look at this 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach. So let's not sit around and dwell on the fact that Juve played out another draw and just go right to them...
- Juventus didn't play very well for a second straight game against their German opposition and only got two out of a possible six points. The group stage total could have been 10 points, maybe even more, at the very minimum if Juve had actually won one of their two games against Gladbach.
- Juventus had no other choice but to play for a point thanks to Hernanes' moment of absolutely craziness with that two-footed tackle early in the second half. Max Allegri brought in the necessary players to make sure Juventus held Gladbach at one goal, and they executed that plan over the course of the 35 minutes they played with 10 men on the field.
And then there's a third wild card part of all this simply because I feel like it...
- Forget the one-point or three-point thing. If it wasn't for Gigi Buffon, Juventus might have been blown out of the water when they were down to 10 men in the second half. Gladbach pushed almost everybody forward because they needed more than just one point to get out of the bottom of the group, and every time they put something with major danger on frame, Superman was there to deny the Germans of a second goal. He's good. Really, really good.
It could be a mixture of all three, who knows. But one thing is for certain: When Hernanes decided to try and be a hero and instead got sent off for an absolutely idiotic tackle, Juventus had to change their approach — big time. As much as we wanted Juventus to try and get all three points, it just didn't seem anything close to likely once the Brazilian midfielder was shown a straight red and went off head in hands toward the dressing room.
Which, by the way, totally sucks considering Juventus were truly starting to find their footing coming out of halftime. The opening 30 or so minutes that produced the only Gladbach goal seemed to be put on the shelf and Juve had right the ship more than just a little bit. Juventus looked like a relatively dangerous team again, actually controlling the pace of the game rather than the other way around.
Instead, they were forced to sit back and defend if they wanted any chance of coming away from Tuesday night's game with one point at the very least. That was unfortunately the only thing that did happen. Juve rarely pushed forward when they went down a man (although it's not like Hernanes was doing much of anything when he was on the field, so insert the "Juve were already down a man!" joke here.)
Yeah, I can be okay with this. Juventus needs to get to the knockout round. While Man City jumped over Juve with their win Tuesday, first place might be gone — for now — but both teams very much have advancement in their hands.
Random thoughts and observations
- Gianluigi Buffon.
- No, seriously, just Gianluigi Buffon.
- Also, Stephan Lichtsteiner is amazing. Truly, truly amazing. Basically a month to the day ago we were wondering how long he would be out for after undergoing heart surgery. Just over a month later, he's scoring an absolutely wonderful goal in the Champions League in his first game back in the starting lineup.
- Let us not forget, that assist from Paul Pogba's on Lichtsteiner's goal was FANTASTIC. It was the moment of magic that Pogba can produce no matter what kind of form he's in. I thought Pogba played relatively well, and that assist was the clear highlight of the night for him.
- At what point do we re-visit the 'Giorgio Chiellini might not be as good as he once was' topic again? That was as bad as a mistake that led to a goal I can remember him making in a while. That's just something you don't do, and yet he did. An Andrea Barzagli-Leonardo Bonucci center of the defense is really okay with me for the time being. Maybe even Daniele Rugani getting a chance to play, too.
- Hernanes' Juventus career is quickly becoming something we'd all like to forget. I was optimistic about him joining Juve because I'm usually optimistic about many things, but the bad is clearly outweighing the good when it comes to his contributions thus far. At least we won't have to worry about him playing in the Champions League for a little bit.
- I pose this question: If Juventus is able to advance to the knockout stages come the end of their game against Manchester City in a couple of weeks, will these two Gladbach games be forgotten? The goal is to get to the knockout round and then let's see what happens. Wasn't that the plan last season? That seemed to work pretty well, I think.