For manager Max Allegri and Juventus, what will happen on Wednesday night will be directly impacting on Saturday night. Not that it's a bad thing, really. How many other teams around would like to be planning for the weekend's league game with the Champions League semifinals in mind? A lot, I would think.
When Juventus takes the field against Cagliari today, everybody is expected them a lot different than the team that will play against Real Madrid on Wednesday night with a spot in the Champions League final hanging in the balance. One is because of the other, and it's pretty easy to figure out which is which.
Squad rotation will happen because there's Champions League football in four days' time. There will be no Gianluigi Buffon playing in goal against Cagliari tonight. There will be no Carlitos Tévez looking to find the back of the net for the second time in as many games against Cagliari this season, either. Those are just two of the many expected changes that will be going down in just a matter of time at Juventus Stadium.
All of this allows Allegri to put an eye toward Wednesday night in Madrid, the biggest of all big games this season. There's only one game that can be bigger than what will be played against Real Madrid, and that is a distinct possibility based on how the first leg went. So that is why, understandably, there will be an incredible amount of squad rotation going on by Allegri tonight.
And all of this, no matter who actually plays against Cagliari, will be highlighted by the anticipated return of French midfielder Paul Pogba, who has been out of action since Juventus beat Borussia Dortmund in Germany two months ago.
That is enough right there to watch, isn't it? Yes, watching Pogba play this game we love is always enough reason.
Hey, that's pretty good, I would say. So let's go and make it 11 games unbeaten — squad rotation or not.
Starting lineups for both Juventus and Cagliari will be posted RIGHT HERE when they become available. If you're only able to count on one hand the amount of players who start against Cagliari that will also be in the starting XI against Real Madrid on Wednesday night, then you're doing it right. This will almost certainly be some of the most non-Coppa Italia squad rotation we've seen in a good amount of time. Enjoy it. Enjoy the Padoin.
UPDATE: LINEUPS ARE IN!
Juventus XI (4-3-3): Storari; Romulo, Barzagli, Ogbonna, Padoin, Pereyra, Marchisio, Pogba, Pepe, Matri, Coman
Juventus bench: Buffon, Rubinho, Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie, Evra, Marrone, Sturaro, Vitale, Llorente, Morata
Cagliari XI (4-3-1-2): Brkic; Balzano, Rossettini, Ceppitelli, Avelar; Donsah, Crisetig, Joao Pedro; Ekdal; Cop, Farias
Cagliari bench: Colombi, Barella, Murru, Cossu, Sau, Capuano, Pisano, Conti, Diakite, Longo, Cragno