Well, here goes nothin’, folks.
Juventus’ Champions League standing for the rest of this season is on the line. With a 1-1 aggregate scoreline and no more away goals rule to potentially bail them out, one thing and one thing only will see Juve go through to the Champions League quarterfinals — a win over Villarreal on their home ground in Turin.
We will know whether we get more Juventus in Europe nights in a few hours, and it’s very much the kind of situation that we want to see opposite of what’s gone down at the Juventus Stadium the last couple of seasons. This has been the end of the road the last two campaigns against Lyon and more recently Porto, with brutal first-leg performances forcing Juve to essentially chase things the entire second leg. (And then some dumb things happening in the second leg, too. Don’t forget that.)
This is about both exorcising those demons and taking advantage of this situation where all they need to do is win and nothing else. As we’ve been saying during domestic action as well recently, it doesn’t truly matter how Juventus gets there, it’s just a matter of seeing Max Allegri’s squad get there and not crash out in the round of 16 for a third straight season.
Nobody wants that.
At least nobody who sees things through black and white glasses wants that.
This game won’t be easy and you can tell that Villarreal really does have a sense of belief that they can beat Juventus on its home turf. They will attack, they will give Juventus some trouble and I don’t think anybody is expecting Juventus to blow them out of the water and win this tie with plenty of room to spare. (Although I wouldn’t mind it!)
This is a test of Juventus’ credentials as to whether they are truly on the right track, and if they can get past this extremely hungry Villarreal side, then it’s into the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time since you-know-who did his superhero act three years ago.
Juventus doesn’t need one of those performances to advance, they just need to win. That’s not too hard to ask for, right?
When: Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
Where: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy.
Official kickoff time: 9 p.m. local time in Italy and around Europe, 8 p.m. in the United Kingdom, 4 p.m. Eastern time, 1 p.m. Pacific time.
Juventus starting XI (4-4-2/4-3-3): Szczesny; Danilo, de Ligt, Rugani, De Sciglio; Cuadrado, Locatelli, Arthur, Rabiot; Vlahovic, Morata.
Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Perin, Chiellini, Dybala, Pellegrini, Kean, Bernardeschi, Miretti.
Villarreal starting XI (4-4-2): Rulli; Aurier, Albiol, Pau Torres, Capoue; Estupiñan, Parejo, Yeremy Pino, Manu Trigueros; Lo Celso, Danjuma.
Villarreal bench: Asenjo, Mario Gaspar, Gerard Moreno, Foyth, Iborra, Chukwueze, Dia, Coquelin, Pena, Mandi, Moi Gomez, Pedraza.
HOW TO WATCH
Television: TUDN USA, UniMás (United States); BT Sport 3 (United Kingdom).
Streaming: Paramount+, TUDN App, TUDN.com, TUDNxtra, Univision NOW (United States); DAZN (Canada); BTSport.com, BT Sport app (United Kingdom); Amazon Prime Video (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.