Ladies and gentlemen, what a tricky draw for Juventus. The actual Champions League runners-up are in Group D with Manchester City, who is the current Premier League leader, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach.
As we all know by now, this group is considered by a lot of analysts to be the group of death (play hitchcockian music). So, my fellow juventini, get your popcorn ready because this is going to be intense. The cards have been dealt, for better or worse. Nevertheless, let´s dissect our group rivals.
These guys really have bad luck; they are always in the group of death. Sheikh Mansour loves to spend money on his team and has placed a constellation of stars at disposal of manager Manuel Pellegrini.
The Citizens are red hot right now. They just equaled a 103-year-old record of nine successive wins in the Premier League. Of course, the transfer window never closes for this squad until the last second. They're really close to signing German playmaker Kevin De Bruyne for a record-breaking transfer fee.
Pellegrini likes to have the ball and his side is loaded with speed demons like Sergio Aguero, Jesus Navas and Raheem Sterling. Max Allegri knows this — I hope — and he needs to find the antidote for this aggressive Sky Blues squad. My forecast is that Juventus will close spaces, similar to the match they played in the semifinals against Real Madrid last season. So, again, San Gigi and the Bianconeri BBC must be stellar.
The first game of the Champions League group stage will be held at the Ethiad Stadium on Sept. 15. The Citizens will pay the visit to Turin on Nov. 5. If Juventus steal at least a point in Manchester and can win at Juventus Stadium, they'lll be on business.
What a Shakespearean turn of events. Damn, I don´t have words to describe the feeling of analyzing Fernando Llorente as a rival. The Lion King will return to Turin real fast and I can't wait to hear the ovation of the crowd that he will get. Sevilla just hopes that he´s going to be Carlos Bacca's successor, and if Fernando proves his worth, we´re in trouble because Sevilla lacks firepower right now.
That said, I really hate this tie. Don´t get me wrong, I believe Juventus are the superior team. However, manager Unai Emery knows how to play these kinds of tournaments. Sevilla never gives up — just ask Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup — the team is as flexible as it gets and the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan is a fortress.
The key for this match is Juventus' talent. When you're a better team, you must match your rival´s intensity and let your skills be the tiebreaker. This is going to be a real test for the young bianconeri. Juve don´t have Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo anymore, so Álvaro Morata, Paulo Dybala and Paul Pogba are all calling to step up.
Juventus will host Sevilla on Sept. 30 and they'll visit the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in the group stage's last game on Dec.8. Let's hope Juventus is qualified by then.
"Die Fohlen" are in theory the weakest team of the group, nevertheless you know what the experts say about Germans. Right now, Monchengladbach are the antithesis of Manchester City — they lost midfielder Christoph Kramer, who returned to Bayern Leverkusen, and have also started the Bundesliga really slow with two losses against Borussia Dortmund and Mainz.
Borussia Monchengladbach's virtue is their defense. Last season they conceded just 26 goals and know how to create havoc with the youngsters Ibrahima Traore and Patrick Herrmann.
These matches are made for Mario Mandzukic. He knows how to score in Germany and against a solid defense, Juventus will need help from their Croatian enforcer up front.
Sept. 15: Manchester City 2. Juventus 1
Sept. 30: Juventus 1, Sevilla 0
Oct. 21 : Juventus 2, Borussia Monchengladbach 0
Nov. 3: Juventus 2, Borussia Monchengladbach 1
Nov. 25: Juventus 2, Manchester City 1
Dec. 8: Juventus 0, Sevilla 0
What do you think?