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Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Napoli

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Juventus FC v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

The next month worth of Juventus games are rather important. Juve will hit on all three fronts they are currently competing on. Coppa Italia, Champions League, all of them. The fixtures coming out of the international will come at them as fast and swiftly as they did when the new year began what seems like so long ago.

In short: JUVENTUS BACK!

Yes, Juventus is back after the two-week international break. No more sitting around and waiting for calcio to come back. It’s back in a big, big way, too. Juventus is in Naples with Gonzalo Higuain’s highly-anticipated return to the San Paolo on the cards today. Three days from now, Juventus will again be in Naples to face Napoli in the second leg of the Coppa Italia semifinals.

So if you thought Juve would just kinda cruise into the Champions League showdown with Barcelona in a couple of weeks, well, it’s not exactly that simple.

It’s a Northern Italy vs. Southern Italy kind of day tonight at the San Paolo. It’s a heated rivalry that has been taken up a few notches because of the €90 million transfer of one of the world’s best strikers from one club to the other.

That’s the cliff notes version of it.

What takes place on the field is another matter.

It’s the Sunday night showdown that Serie A hopes lives up to the hype. And surely the reception that Higuain gets will also live up to the hype as well. (Although these two things are quite different in nature, I would like to think.)

What better way to ring in Miralem Pjanic’s birthday than a win over Napoli on its home turf? Well, probably a win today AND Wednesday night, but you can only go one step at a time, so I’ll take three points in a couple of hours. And so will Miralem, too.

MATCH INFO

Location: Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy

Kick-off time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy; 7:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:45 p.m. on the East Coast; 11:45 p.m. on the West Coast

STARTING LINEUPS

Juventus starting XI (4-2-3-1): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Asamoah; Khedira, Marchisio; Lemina, Pjanic, Mandzukic; Higuain

Juventus bench: Neto, Audero, Benatia, Barzagli, Dani Alves, Rugani, Alex Sandro, Sturaro, Cuadrado, Rincon, Mandragora, Dybala

Napoli starting XI (4-3-3): Rafael; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Strinic; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne

Napoli bench: Reina, Sepe, Chiriches, Maksimovic, Maggio, Ghoulam, Rog, Giaccherini, Zielinski, Diawara, Milik, Pavoletti

WATCH IT

TV: RAI International (United States); RAI International (Canada); BT Sport 1 (United Kingdom); Sky Calcio 1, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, PremiumSport HD (Italy)

Online: fuboTV, beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A. (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live Streaming (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia (Italy)

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