How well did Juventus play on Wednesday night? At one point in the second half, the famed Borussia Dortmund crowd, known for its noise and intimidating atmosphere, was nearly silent. All you heard weren't those in yellow and black supporting the home side. Instead, you heard the couple of thousand Juve tifo who made the trip going "ALE ALE ALE OH!" and basically having a part in the stands.
Because Juventus didn't just advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League with a 3-0 win (5-1 on aggregate) over Dortmund. They advanced with absolute authority.
It was a black and white demolition derby with Max Allegri driving the bus.
Let me put it in perspective for a second: Juventus saw arguably the best player on the field in Paul Pogba leave the game midway through the first half due to injury. Because of it, Allegri — who was also without the injured Andrea Pirlo — switched from a 4-3-1-2 to a 3-5-2 formation as Andrea Barzagli replaced Pogba. Some might have gone "UH OH!" as they saw the three-man defense, which was rumored to be used from the opening whistle in the build up to kickoff, went into action.
Yet the team didn't miss a beat. Not one.
This was a true team performance. Carlos Tévez said it in the post-game interviews and it rings so true. They defended as a team, they attacked on the counter as a team, they won as a team. It was a vintage Juventus performance in a game that truly needed one because there was so much riding on the final result in Germany.
Of course it helps when you enter the game up 2-1 on aggregate and have your No. 10 score an absolute stunner of a goal three minutes in. But Juventus didn't just make that lead stand firm, they frustrated all the living hell out of Dortmund throughout the 90-plus minutes.
It was just a fantastic showing. There's no other way to describe how well Juve played. It was a great defensive effort when Juventus needed one against a dangerous opponent. Dortmund looked completely befuddled out there for the vast majority of the game — and it was because of what Juventus was doing to them on the field.
That's how you rise to the occasion on the European stage, boys and girls.
Random thoughts and observations
- Je suis Pogba. Please let that hamstring recover as fast as possible.
- So, that was a pretty nice birthday gift for Simone Padoin, don't you think?
- All those Juventus players who entered the game one yellow card away from suspension didn't get any yellow cards. Like that game couldn't have gone any better already, right?
- I'm just going to throw it out there and you all can discuss: How great is Andrea Barzagli? Seriously, think about it. This is a guy who hadn't appeared in a game since the World Cup last summer and does that against Palermo and then that against Borussia Dortmund.
- You know why Juventus was able to survive the absence of Pirlo? Because Claudio Marchisio had yet another fantastic game as Juve's regista. I talked about how Marchisio is such a massive upgrade defensively at that position, and it proved correct (not that there were any kind of doubts about it). Marchisio had 10 — TEN! — interceptions. The closest Juventus player, Giorgio Chiellini, had three. This was Marchisio being Marchisio to the utmost degree. And it was great to watch.
- Arturo Vidal had a couple of stupid moments in the first half that might have gotten him carded, but he sure was energetic. Juventus needed Vidal to put in a classic kind of performance to be successful in Germany, and he definitely delivered. After all the struggles he's had this season, this had to feel good.
- Can we just go ahead and thank Manchester City once again for selling Tévez to Juventus a couple of summers ago for what continues to look like a bargain of a transfer fee?
- Tévez scored the first goal in Turin, he scored the first goal in Dortmund. Álvaro Morata scored Juventus' second goal in Turin, he scored Juventus' second goal in Dortmund. Both strikers with goals in both legs. That's some lovely and cosistent production from the best two strikers on the roster, baby.
- I wonder what was going through Ciro Immobile was thinking as he sat on the bench during that game. I mean, he didn't even get the chance to score that much-desired goal against Juventus on Wednesday.
(Too soon? Nah.)
- Max Allegri's impact on the team keeps becoming more and more obvious. Juventus didn't have this kind of tactical flexibility under Antonio Conte. Not by a mile. Conte laid down a great foundation and brought Juve back from the dead, but Allegri is taking Juventus forward and building off what his predecessor did. He managed the two legs against Borussia Dortmund perfectly. And the players executed the game plan pretty darn well, too.
- Noted goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon said before the season he wanted a Serie A title and to make the quarterfinals in the Champions League. Well, San Gigi, you've got both of those now. Maybe re-evaluate and try to get to the semis? Just an idea.
- Seriously, 5-1 on aggregate against Borussia Dortmund. That game was so much fun.
- Plus-14 and in the Champions League quarterfinals. It's pretty good to be associated with Juventus right now, isn't it? (Hint: Yeah, it is.)
- UEFA Champions League Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Borussia Dortmund
- Juventus vs. Borussia Dortmund, Leg 2: You choose Max Allegri's starting lineup
- UEFA Champions League: Juventus vs. Borussia Dortmund — Full match coverage
- UEFA Champions League Preview: Juventus vs. Borussia Dortmund, Leg 2
- Juventus rule out injured Andrea Pirlo for trip to Borussia Dortmund