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Champions League Preview: Juventus vs. Real Madrid

A very big deficit to try and overcome in a very big game.

Juventus v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

How would you describe each of the four legs of this season’s Champions League quarterfinals? A lot of it probably depends on if you are a supporter of one of the eight teams still taking part. Some of it might have to do with your rooting against one of the eight teams still taking part.

There are a lot of different ways to go about it. But as the final whistle sounded at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night and Barcelona’s 4-1 win over Roma hit full time, the you are about to read seemed rather appropriate.

Here are what the four aggregate scorelines were entering the second leg this week:

  • 2-1.
  • 3-0.
  • 3-0.
  • 4-1.

The unfortunate part is that Juventus is on the wrong of the “Yeah, so now what?” comment from the great Sid Lowe, who just so happens to be a guy who sees a lot of Spanish football nine or 10 months out of the year. As we’ve known for seven days now, Juventus will see their aggregate scoreline be one of the 3-0 ones that is listed above. The same 3-0 aggregate scoreline that could have been 1-0 if Juve hadn’t seen its defense turn into a hot mess or Cristiano Ronaldo hadn’t scored one of the best goals you’ll ever see in the Champions League.

Yet, here we are.

A 3-0 scoreline in favor of Real Madrid that subsequently has Juve’s chances of advancing to the Champions League semifinals in the single digits on a score of 1-to-100. That’s what we like to call “not ideal.”

But as I sit here and type out this section of this match preview having watched Roma give Barcelona a complete ass kicking and stun the Spanish giants 3-0 to advance to the Champions League semifinals for the first time in decades, it makes you think.

It makes you believe — just the slightest bit, maybe.

This is as much of an uphill battle as Juve have faced in quite a bit of time, non-Champions League finals of recent vintage included. Real Madrid’s 3-0 is all built on its away goals value, thus creating a situation where Juventus have to score three goals of their own at the Santiago Bernabeu to even have a chance.

It sounds weird to say, but here it goes: Juventus have an example to follow in Roma. No, seriously, they do. Roma did something right, and Max Allegri needs to take note of it rather than talking about how little of a chance his team of advancing. You want to see a team come back from a 3-0 aggregate scoreline in the second leg, there’s an example that’s less than 24 hours old.

So, maybe for the first time ever, I’m hoping Juventus pull a Roma.

Wait, what? Yeah, you read that right.

Or, maybe at the very least, go down absolutely swinging. That would be nice to see, wouldn’t it?


If Roma can do it...


Uh, 3-0 aggregate scoreline, anyone?


1) Can Juventus do the damn thing?

We can debate starting lineups, formations Allegri could possibly use and everything in between, but this is the only thing that really matters. We just watched a team, one that is not as good as Juventus is based on the Serie A standings, pull off a complete miracle of a comeback against a squad that many were picking to win the whole damn tournament.

Sooooo ... you’re saying there’s a chance?

Well, of course there is.

But we just don’t know what Juventus has in store for us.

You could say that for a good amount of the time this season. There haven’t been months worth of really good performances to tell us that this team hitting its best run of form right now. Yet, at the same time, Juventus were pretty good for about 45 or 50 minutes against Real Madrid in the first leg before all hell broke loose and the score went from 1-0 to 3-0 just like that.

Juve will have to go about this attempted comeback without one of its most in-form players, Paulo Dybala, whose two yellow cards in the first leg means he’s going to be watching from afar rather than playing. That’s just about as much of an insult to injury to go along with the 3-0 deficit as there can be.

Where Allegri goes with his tactics and approach are, of course, crucial to Juve even making a game out of this. But, for one, I just want Juve to come out like they give a damn and have the look like they want to make a game of it all.

You know, just create a little doubt in Real Madrid’s mind — and then see where it goes.


Juventus starting XI (4-3-3): Gianluigi Buffon; Mattia De Sciglio, Medhi Benatia, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi; Douglas Costa, Gonzalo Higuain, Mario Mandzukic


When: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Where: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain

Kickoff time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Spain; 8:45 p.m. in Italy; 7:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:45 p.m. on the East Coast; 11:45 a.m. on the West Coast


Television: Fox Sports 1, ESPN Deportes (United States); TSN1, TSN3, beIN Sports Canada (Canada); BT Sport 2 (United Kingdom); PremiumSport HD (Italy)

Online/Mobile: WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes+, FOX Soccer Match Pass, FOX Sports GO, fuboTV (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada, fuboTV Canada, TSN GO (Canada); BT Sport Live (United Kingdom); Premium Play (Italy)

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