We are a long way from the meaty Champions League rounds where you can count the number of teams remaining on one or two hands. We are a long way from the end of the Champions League group stage, too, to be completely honest. As busy as Juventus’ schedule is about to be over the next three or four months (at the very least), we’re still a long way from their group stage finale in December.
Today, we start it all.
A season where the Champions League title is the clear-cut, No. 1 goal for every single person associated with Juventus is about to see said tournament get underway for the seven-time defending Serie A champions. It’s Juventus. It’s Valencia. It’s Cristiano Ronaldo making his European debut with his new team. It’s the Group H opener in a six-step process that will determine Juve’s route throughout the knockout stage.
We get to see whether the addition of Ronaldo will mean Juventus can not be very Juventus-like in the group stages.
We get to see whether Ronaldo finding the back of the net not once but twice this past weekend will be the start of more good things over the next few months.
We get to see just how Max Allegri will approach European competition with his new toys.
And, maybe most importantly of all, We get to see just how this Juventus squad will handle all of these Champions League-related expectations.
Juventus aren’t the club that might go deep in the competition if they get things to break their way and will be a feel-good kind of story because of it. Nope, not this season or next. Expectations to do serious damage are there — and have been ever since Ronaldo took a break from his post-World Cup vacation to come back from Greece and sign with our beloved bianconeri.
People expect big things because of the big player they signed this summer. You make moves like that, it’s only natural that the goals and aspirations get turned up almost as high as they can possibly be, if not further.
Tonight is the first step in what we hope will be a season full of Champions League football. And let’s just hope that it goes a little better than the last time Juventus was playing in Europe’s premier club competition.
When: Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018
Where: Mestalla Stadium, Valencia, Spain
Official kickoff time: 9 p.m. local time in Spain and across Europe; 8 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 3 p.m. Eastern Time; 12 noon Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-3): Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi, Mandzukic, Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Perin, Benatia, Rugani, Cuadrado, Can, Dybala, Douglas Costa
Valencia starting XI (4-4-2): Neto; Ruben Vezo, Murillo, Gabriel Paulista, Gaya; Soler, Parejo, Wass, Goncalo Guedes; Rodrigo, Batshuayi
Valencia bench: Domenech, Gameiro, Cheryshev, Diakhaby, Torres, Piccini, Santi Mina
HOW TO WATCH
Television: UniMás (United States); Sky Calcio 3 (Italy)
Online/mobile: B/R Live, Univision Deportes en Vivo, Univision NOW (United States); DAZN (Canada); Sky Sport Arena, Sky Go Italia (Italy)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.
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