The Bavarians invaded Turin, but they couldn't conquer it.
Bayern Munich terrorized Juventus during the first half of Tuesday night's game. At the beginning of the second half the Bianconeri were two goals down and without arguably their most important player, Claudio Marchisio. However, Bayern needed to learn a lesson: Juventus is a unique team, their players sweat grinta, they'll never give up and that's why Fino alla fine is their motto. The Bianconeri fought back and defended their turf, the final result was not ideal for the Turin side, but the message was loud and clear: "Not in our house!"
Max Allegri needed to disable the Bavarian machinery and he chose a 4-4-2 formation to achieve that goal. Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio played in the heart of the midfield and Mario Mandzukic — who returned from his month-long injury absence — partnered with Paulo Dybala in attack. Pep Guardola displayed his 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 hybrid configuration with the ex-juventino Arturo Vidal playing in front of Bayern's defense.
The match started as expected, Bayern claimed the possession of the ball and Juventus waited for the moment to frame a killer counterattack. Nonetheless, the Bavarians turned the first half into a Tiki-Taka clinic. Juventus were caged in their penalty box and they didn't have a chance to scape.
On four minutes, Vidal fired a furious volley from distance, Gianluigi Buffon responded to his former teammate with a clever save. At the 13th minute, a series of marvelous passes from Bayern left Thomas Müller alone just outside of the six-yard box, but luckily the German Icon made an erratic control and his shot was easily cleared by Leonardo Bonucci. Bayern didn't lift the siege and Juventus was suffering a lot to grasp some precious air. Arjen Robben and Juan Bernat tried some dangerous long range efforts but they were harmless, later Gigi Buffon controlled a Robert Lewandowski's menacing header.
At 43rd minute, just when it seemed that Juventus would scape from the Bavarians attacking fury, Khedira lost the ball in the middle of the park and Bayern performed a frenetic counterattack. After a pair of crosses from Robben and Douglas Costa the ball fell to Thomas Müller who was alone in the penalty spot, this time the attacker from Die Mannschaft scored. Juventus were down 1-0 at the halftime.
At the beginning of the second half, Hernanes replaced an injured Marchisio. Juventus tried to press Bayern and take control of the ball, however, at the 56th minute, the Bavarians would double their lead. It was another counterattack, after a series of passes Arjen Robben was one-on-one with Andrea Barzagli in the penalty box, the Dutchman cut onto his left and sent a powerful curling shot that left a diving Buffon without a chance. That shot had Arjen Robben's trademark all over it.
On 64 minutes, Juventus responded. Mandzukic took advantage of a bad clearance by Joshua Kimmich and fed Dybala with a superb pass. La Joya showed his worth and beat Manuel Neuer coolly. Four minutes later, Mandzukic fought for an impossible ball and charged towards Bayern's goal. The Croatian assisted Juan Cuadrado, who performed a thunderous shot from the right flank that burned Neuer's gloves.
Allegri made two movements that changed the destiny of the match. At the 69th minute, Stefano Sturaro replaced Khedira, and, at the 75th minute, Álvaro Morata entered for Dybala. Just one minute later, Juventus found the equalizer. Again, all began with Mandzukic, who passed the ball to Morata and the Spaniard sent a clever headed cross into the area where Sturaro beat Kimmich to score from point-blank range.
After this, the two European heavyweights exchanged some hazardous attacks. Nevertheless, the match finished 2-2.
It's a great result for the Germans from a numeric perspective. However, Juventus have found some cracks in the Bavarian machinery and you can`t forget that when this two great teams play again in Munich on March 16.
Buffon 6.5 He showcased his great technique to deny Bayern's long-range efforts and dangerous crosses. The two goals weren't his fault.
Lichtsteiner 6 The Swiss Express had a really hard duel against Douglas Costa on the right flank. He suffered on the first 45 minutes but contained the Brazilian speed demon on the second half.
Bonucci 7 Leo played most of the time inside his own penalty box and guarding an elite striker. His performance helped his team to stay in the game.
Barzagli 6.25 The rock played a solid game; nonetheless, he was beaten badly by Robben in the second goal.
Evra 5.5 Patrice had to dance with Robben during the match and struggled with his speed. It was a brave effort by the Frenchman.
Marchisio 5.5 Il Principino played a belligerent game defensively but he hardly touched the ball on offense. He needed to leave the match prematurely.
Khedira 5 Big Sami looked really slow in the pitch. He also had problems with the ball on his feet. It wasn't a great game by the German.
Pogba 6.5 The kid fought hard during the game but failed to demonstrate his world-class skills. It's clear that he isn't a winger.
Cuadrado 6.25 Another Dr. Juan Guillermo and Mr. Hyde performance by the Colombian. He sometimes excelled with his ability but he also showcased some real head scratchers. He helped Lichtsteiner to defend the right flank.
Dybala 7 If Juve don't have the ball, La Joya will suffer. The tiny striker showed that he had ice in his veins and beat Neuer with his only scoring chance. He's only 22 by the way.
Mandzukic 7.5 A warrior in the pitch. He never gave up and inspired the comeback. He contributed in both Juventus' goals.
Hernanes 6.5 Entered for Marchisio at the 46th minute. It was a courageous game by the prophet. He proved to be decisive in the second half and helped his side to gain possession of the ball. Not a bad cameo by this mercato flop.
Sturaro 6.5 Entered for Khedira at the 69th minute. Again, release the Sturaro! The industrious midfielder took no prisoners and scored with lots of grinta. He needs to work with his technique but l love his attitude.
Morata 6.5 Entered for Dybala at the 75th minute. Mr. Champions League did it again. He achieved an assist just a minute after he entered to the game. He created havoc on Bayern's defense.
Allegri 6.5 Max had some troubles with his initial strategy. Pep Guardiola bullied Juventus with his Tiki Taka on the first half; nonetheless, the Livornian coach adjusted superbly.
Things I think I think
- More injuries, yeah!
- Please Hernanes make me a believer.
- Arturo Vidal: I hate you, but I love you.
- I assumed Lewandowski and Mandzukic were friends (nah, just kidding)
- #beheroes...well guys, mission accomplished.