The last time Juventus faced Lyon in the Champions League, the end result was Max Allegri leading the Bianconeri all the way to the final in Cardiff. While we do not speak of what happened in Wales, we obviously acknowledge that one of the first steps in getting to being one of the last two teams remaining was facing Lyon along the way.
Juventus will now be hoping that another matchup against Lyon results is just another step in the journey to making this season’s Champions League final.
As the balls were drawn at UEFA headquarters Monday afternoon, Juventus ended up being one of the last clubs to hear its name called. It was either going to be Lyon or Tottenham, with the French side being the one that got matched up with the eight-time defending Italian champions and the winners of Group D during the Champions League group stage.
And, to make matters worse for Lyon (and good for Juventus, I guess), its second-leading goal scorer Mephis Depay was last for the season — and probably Euro 2020 — with a torn ACL in this weekend’s 1-0 loss to Rennes.
Instead of facing one of the heavyweights that finished in second place in the group, Juventus will now look to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals against a Lyon side that is currently sitting eighth in Ligue 1 and managed by our old buddy and former Roma manager Rudi Garcia.
It could have been a truly worrying situation if Juventus had drawn Real Madrid, something that obviously would have come with a lot of Cristiano Ronaldo-centric storylines and headlines, but also a matchup where Juve’s dreams of Champions League glory would have been seriously put to the test.
Real Madrid gets to go against old buddy Pep Guardiola and Manchester City in the round of 16, though, meaning one of the more ballyhooed teams in the tournament will be gone even before the quarterfinals kick off.
In short, it could have been a lot worse and turned out to be pretty OK, if you ask me.
Now, obviously, Juventus will be the heavy favorites to move on following Monday’s draw that handed them French opposition in the knockout stages for the first time since the Bianconeri faced Monaco in the Champions League semifinals in 2017. (That seemed to be rather heart attack-worthy, but quite nice when the two legs were over.) It doesn’t really matter if Juve will be in the kind of form they’ve been in the last two months or they start to improve under Maurizio Sarri — they will be the favorites to advance and that will be that.
Let’s just hope that if things do go Juventus’ way in the round of 16 that Rudi brings his little violin to the sidelines once again. That would be fun.