Unlike when Juventus headed to the Santiago Bernabéu last month to play the second leg of the Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid, there are no lingering lineup questions surrounding Max Allegri's squad selection.
The 11 players that will almost certainly step onto the field for Juventus tonight are pretty much the 11 we all thought would step onto the field three days ago. When it comes to predicting a pair of lineups, this might be as predictable as predictable gets. (Let's try and figure out another way to get some form of predict into that sentence, okay?)
Even with the absence of Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini, there are few surprises — if any, really — expected between Allegri and his counterpart on the Barcelona sideline, Luis Enrique. That just the nature of the beast when (almost) everybody is healthy and both teams are playing well. The top 11 will play, and picking the starting lineup is as easy as choosing your favorite pizza toppings.
Simple is as simple does. It's just one of those things that is easy to figure out. Other stuff might not, but this is.
Gianluigi Buffon; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Patrice Evra; Claudo Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba; Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tévez, Álvaro Morata
See? No surprises. But you probably knew that by now. This is as easy as a game to play as I've ever attempted.
The one change is the big one that we didn't think Allegri would have to make at the beginning of the week, with Chiellini making the trip to Berlin but not playing in the game because of his calf injury. Having Barzagli step in for Chiellini isn't the problem, really. The thing that has gotten forgotten in this swapping of center backs is that Allegri won't have his go-to introduction of Barzagli and subsequent switch to a 3-5-2 formation if Juventus need it in the second half.
Other than that, this is the lineup that everybody is expecting. Barring any kind of last-minute injury in pre-game warmups, that is the lineup we will see. Juventus definitely has a lot of squad depth this season. It also has a pretty easy starting lineup to figure out.
Marc-André ter Stegen; Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar
Yeah, no real surprises here as well. For as easy as Juventus' lineup for the Champions League final is to predict, the same can definitely be said about the one that will likely be used by Luis Enrique. When all of your starting 11 players are healthy and playing damn well, then writing out your starting lineup becomes a breeze. That's pretty much what we all expect to happen — and what likely happen come the time the lineups are announced at the Olympiastadion.