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Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Lecce

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Please, no Juventus vs. relegation battler shenanigans today, guys.

Juventus v Lokomotiv Moskva: Group D - UEFA Champions League Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

When you see that Juventus has seven games over the span of just 22 days, what’s the initial reaction that flies through you’re head? Knowing that there’s Champions League football mixed into it over that three-week stretch, is there a little bit of stress creeping into your mind? Or, knowing that Juve’s Serie A portion of the schedule isn’t exactly filled with a lot of heavy hitters, are you relatively confident things will turn out to be perfectly OK?

Two games in, are those thoughts any different?

Juventus officially has one Serie A and one Champions League fixture checked off the list during this jam-packed 22-day stretch of games between international breaks. It’s not ideal, obviously, but them’s the rules and Juventus must comply as the schedule tells them to. The beauty of the beginning to this part to the October schedule was that the first two games were at home, so resting up for the next game at hand wasn’t going to be an issue. But, now that we’re entering the second weekend of this busy cluster of games, is the fact that Juve is playing away from home. Sure, it’s not the most intimidating venue or the biggest crowd they will play in front of all season, but it’s an away game against a club that hasn’t seen the Italian champions come to town in a good amount of time.

And, as we know from who’s called up — as well as who isn’t — it’s not like Maurizio Sarri has a whole lot of options when it comes to rotating his own starting lineup against a Lecce side that is back in Serie A for the first time since being relegated (and even sent to Serie C after match fixing allegations) in 2012.

Juventus head into the trip to Lecce nowhere close to full strength. There’s no Cristiano Ronaldo because of rest during this busy portion of the schedule. While Mattia De Sciglio is back, Aaron Ramsey and Douglas Costa are still out and it’s somewhat unclear when the two key cogs in this Juventus side are expected to return from their respective injuries.

Despite all of that, Juve just keep chugging along. The last two wins haven’t been things of beauty by any means. (Unless you want to talk about Paulo Dybala’s game-tying goal against Lokomotiv Moscow because that was pretty.) But, as time goes on, we can still say that as we sit here waiting for the penultimate game of October to begin, that Juventus has dropped all of four points in all competitions to date.

I’d say that’s pretty good — and hopefully it continues as we go from October to November.

MATCH INFO

When: Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019

Where: Stadio Via del Mare, Lecce, Italy

Official kickoff time: 3 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 2 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 9 a.m. Eastern Time; 6 a.m. Pacific Time

STARTING LINEUPS

Juventus starting XI (4-3-1-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Alex Sandro; Emre Can, Pjanic, Bentancur; Bernardeschi; Dybala, Higuain

Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Buffon, De Sciglio, Khedira, Matuidi, Cuadrado, Rugani, Rabiot, Demiral, Kwang-Son Han

Lecce starting XI (4-3-1-2): Gabriel; Meccariello, Lucioni, Rossettini, Calderoni; Petriccione, Tachtsidis, Majer; Mancosu; Farias, Babacar

Lecce bench: Vigorito, Riccardi, Vera, Benzar, Lapadula, Falco, Shakhov, La Mantia, Tabanelli, Rispoli, Lo Faso, Dell’Orco

HOW TO WATCH

Television: TLN (Canada); Sky Sport Serie A, Sky Calcio 1, NOW TV, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy)

Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); 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.