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Juventus vs. Bologna match preview: Time, TV schedule, and how to watch the Serie A

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“Welcome back, welcome back, welcome baaaaack...”

Bologna FC v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Danilo Di Giovanni/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The thing I hate about the international break, besides its obvious stupidity and relative inconvenience, is the fact that sometimes you have to wait two freakin’ weeks for your team’s next game following a big win. Juventus got that big win, beating Inter Milan nearly two whole weeks ago in the first Derby d’Italia of the season ... and then we had to wait.

Wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Juventus’ win over Inter was great — both in terms of how the team went about it, where it happened and how it pretty much knocked all of the shine off Antonio Conte’s perfect start to Serie A play in Milan. But it just so happened to be followed by a two-week international break that was filled with Euro 2020 qualifiers rather than Juventus games to occupy our time.

Luckily, the October international break is a thing of the past, with Juventus set to host Bologna at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night. It will be the first time all season where Juventus will enter the Serie A weekend as the sole leader at the top of the league standings, with the win over Inter pretty much putting it out there that Juve’s reign hasn’t come to an end just yet. Or, at least, that they’re still the team to beat in Serie A no matter what may be happening in Milan or Naples in the early months or the season.

We’ve obviously been talking about the development of this squad under first-year manager Maurizio Sarri all season long. The fact that it takes a Sarri squad a good amount of time to settle into his dynamic system is something that you can probably find mentioned in virtually all of our posts at some point through the course of the first two months of the season.

And when you look at what Juventus was able to do against Inter, that might as well be the confirmation that Sarri’s vision and tactics are starting to truly take hold.

Now, as Juventus gets ready to start a stretch where it will be play an astonishing seven games over just 22 days, the Bianconeri will do so against a team that has failed to win its past four games since starting the season 2 for 2, an emotional opening to the 2019-20 campaign as Sinisa Mihajlovic was in the first few weeks of his battle with leukemia.

(Mihajlovic, by the way, is expected to be back on the sidelines for Saturday night’s game in Turin, which will surely be a boost for a team that has struggled of late to get results. And also a great sight to see no matter what club you root for.)

In this three-week stretch, you look at Juventus’ schedule and see that every game is a winnable one. There’s the chance to take control of the Champions League group. There’s a run of games before the Turin derby the first weekend of November where Juventus can surely try and build some breathing room between itself and the closest competition in Serie A. (It’s Bologna, Lecce and Genoa in the next three league games, in case you’re wondering.)

This stretch will be busy. It will probably not be 100 percent smooth sailing because that’s just not how this sport works no matter how much we’d like it to. But, above all else, as the players continue to reach a bigger and bigger comfort level in Sarri’s system, there’s also the chance to rack up some points in both competitions Juve’s currently participating in.

And when you look at what Juventus has on its schedule in late-November and December, continuing to take advantage of this favorable stretch is almost as crucial as simply continuing development within Sarri’s system.

TEAM NEWS

  • Aaron Ramsey — who didn’t participate in either of Wales’ Euro 2020 qualifiers during the international break — and Danilo will be back in the squad, according to Sarri at his pre-match press conference.
  • Also from Sarri at the pre-match presser: “Costa and De Sciglio are both progressing but they still haven’t yet rejoined the group.”
  • Even with Juventus actually having a natural right back available for selection again, La Gazzetta dello Sport was predicting on Friday that Juan Cuadrado will maintain his starting spot in defense. That’s the right move, too.
  • Speaking on the injury front, Giorgio Chiellini’s agent says that Juve’s currently-injured captain will be ready to go before the end of the 2019-20 season. That’s not exactly breaking news based on the six-month timeline we were given after Chiellini underwent surgery back in September, but it’s good to hear that progress is going well.
  • It’s somewhat unclear what Sarri is planning in terms of his attacking group, mainly with the Champions League on the horizon on Tuesday. That could mean Cristiano Ronaldo will be rested Saturday night, with Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain forming an all-Argentina attack with Federico Bernardeschi expected to start behind them in the hole.
  • Juventus has won seven straight games against Bologna.
  • According to WhoScored, Bologna has failed to win 30 of its last 33 away games in Serie A.

JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH

Over the course of the international break, Federico Bernardeschi did this:

And then he did this:

That’s two games with Italy, two starts and two goals the reward Roberto Mancini’s faith in our tattoo-clad and bulldog-loving friend. And, as you can probably guess, a whole lot of us are hoping that it’s those two goals — plus the one he scored in the Champions League against Bayer Leverkusen — are what gets Bernardeschi’s season truly back on track.

That’s three goals in four games for club and country, in case you’re counting at home. The one start where Bernardeschi didn’t find the back of the net, in the Derby d’Italia two weeks ago, Bernardeschi’s contributions were more for what he did off the ball rather than with it at his feet and doing damage that way.

With the way Bernardeschi’s season has gone to date, seeing him thrive over the international break was a pretty welcome sight.

Now it’s about carrying it over from the international level back to the club stage.

With Ramsey not missing any time because of the minor muscle issue he had over the international break, there’s obviously going to be much more competition for playing time at the trequartista spot in Sarri’s 4-3-1-2 formation. Not to say that Ramsey is going to take all the minutes at the No. 10 spot when he does return to the starting lineup because that would just be stupid, but he’s obviously shown that he adds something to this squad that gives them a different dimension.

That means Bernardeschi is going to have to find a way to bring that international level success with him back to Turin. And if he does that, then Sarri’s selection headache in attack will become even more of an interesting one to follow.

MATCH INFO

When: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019

Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy

Official kickoff time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 7:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:45 p.m. Eastern Time; 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time

HOW TO WATCH

Television: RAI Italia American (United States); RAI Italia America, TLN (Canada); Premium Sports 2 (United Kingdom)

Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Premium Player HD (United Kingdom); DAZN (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.