Following Juventus’ loss to AC Milan last weekend, we knew that it was going to be even more of an uphill battle for Andrea Pirlo’s squad to finish in the top four more than it was a couple of days before. They were on the outside looking in, with a fifth-place standing the reality and playing no Champions League football very much in the cards.
Any chances Juve have of playing in the Champions League — yes, barring any kind of major decision by UEFA if Andrea Agnelli continues to hold firm in his stance for the breakaway Super League — could officially end this weekend.
It all starts when Antonio Conte and newly crowned Serie A champions Inter Milan — that’s still painful to both type and think about, especially with the jerseys they wore against Roma on Wednesday night — come to Allianz Stadium for some Saturday evening football. As has been the case for pretty much all of Juve’s games the last few weeks, they need to win to continue to have a shot at finishing in the top four. And obviously Juventus will be trying to do so against a Conte-managed team that would love nothing more than being the exclamation point on a terrible 2020-21 campaign for Pirlo and his team.
A loss to Inter could very well spell the official ending of any lingering Champions League hopes that Juventus’ players and management have. And if Juventus loses to Inter, the following will mean the Bianconeri are Europa League bound:
- Atalanta beat Genoa earlier in the day Saturday.
- Milan beat Cagliari on Sunday night.
- Napoli, which is currently one point ahead of Juve in fourth, beats Fiorentina in Sunday’s lunchtime kickoff.
So, that’s less than ideal.
But, you know, that’s what happens when your results are so poor over the course of the season that you’re relying on serious help from the likes of Fiorentina and Cagliari in the second-to-last-weekend of the season.
Not only does Juventus have to win both of their remaining games and get help from multiple teams who just so happen to be in the bottom half of the table, there’s also the fact that they don’t have any of the potential tiebreakers going in their direction. Thanks to Milan’s 3-0 win last weekend, Juventus doesn’t have the tiebreaker over Milan. Thanks to a draw and a loss to Atalanta, Juventus doesn’t have that tiebreaker, either.
There is no head-to-head tiebreaker with Napoli seeing as both teams have wins over each other that were decided by one goal. Therefore, things would be decided by goal differential if the two teams were to be tied for the final Champions League spot — which, as of now, would go to Napoli seeing as their goal different is plus-43 as compared to Juventus’ plus-35.
So, basically, this is far from ideal. Far from anything you would consider good actually. Basically, if Juventus don’t win out then they’re bound for the Europa League — and even then they might not be able to jump back into the top four. What a season this has been.