Tonight is the beginning of Juventus’ Champions League campaign. It is one, we hope, that extends a little longer than Juve’s last couple of Champions League campaigns simply because getting some extra money out of the premier club competition in Europe would be awfully, awfully nice during these current times.
The problem is, Juve’s current doesn’t necessarily lend itself to good times.
It’s more about pain. Lots and lots of pain.
So now as Juventus has made the trip over to Sweden and prepares to take the field tonight, we hope that the struggles of the first three Serie A games aren’t all that prevalent in the Champions League. That’s easier said than done, of course. It always is when it comes to Juventus when the squad gets into one of these kinds of funks. (And, for some, this current funk might be simply an extension of the last funk from a previous manager or two.)
But it’s pretty simple for a Juventus squad that will be without Federico Chiesa again tonight; Their manager, under some fire for how he’s done so far this season, has said this Champions League opener against the Swedish champions is a must-win fixture. Therefore, Juventus must win it.
There’s no other way around it. With Chelsea waiting in the waits come a couple of weeks from now, Juventus can’t afford to drop points tonight and then go into a meeting with the reigning Champions League winners hoping to not do that again against a much better team.
Juventus doesn’t have Chiesa — and that’s bad. But the return of the South Americans, who have had at least a few days to rest, will give Juventus a much-needed boost during a time in which they desperately need one in the worst possible way. Or at least we hope they do.
When it comes to Juve these days, sometimes I feel like I just have to throw my hands up in the air and hope for the best. But not too much because then that’s where said hopes get crushed and everybody else is angry again. That’s been happening way too much already this season, so maybe setting the bar low will be the thing that changes it all up a little bit.
When: Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021
Where: Eleda Stadium, Malmö, Sweden
Official kickoff time: 9 p.m. local time in Sweden and across Europe; 8 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 3 p.m. Eastern Time; 12 p.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-4-2? 4-4-3?): Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado, Bentancur, Locatelli, Rabiot; Dybala, Morata
Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Perin, De Sciglio, Chiellini, Ramsey, McKennie, Kean, Rugani, Kulusevski
Malmö starting XI (5-3-2): Diawara; Berget, Ahmedodzic, Nielsen, Brorsson, Rieks; Innocent, Christiansen, Rakip; Colak, Birmancevic
Malmö bench: Ellborg, Dahlin, Larsson, Olsson, Bejimo, Abubakari, Gwargis, Nalic, Eile, Bjorkqvist, Nanasi
HOW TO WATCH
Television: BT Sport ESPN (United Kingdom); Canale 5, Sky Sport Uno, Sky Sport 252 (Italy)
Online/mobile: Paramount+, TUDN.com, TUDN App, TUDNxtra (United States); DAZN (Canada); BTSport.com, BT Sport app (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia, NOW TV, Mediaset Infinity (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.