Over the last handful of years, a common thread of Juventus’ group stage opposition is that there is always a club or two that, in some way, has a tie to a portion of the new season’s roster. Maybe it’s one club, maybe it’s all three, but there’s almost always some sort of hope that the Ex Effect would eventually work in Juventus’ favor come the group stage.
What, you thought Adrien Rabiot was going to get off easy?
The big showdown in Group H will involve Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, a club that was previously home to a couple of Juve’s most notable players (for good and bad reasons) as well as what is expected to be an arrival in the not-so-distant future. Juventus, which came out of Pot 2 thanks to its second consecutive fourth-place finish in Serie A last season, also got drawn against Benfica — because what is Juve’s Champions League run the last few years without a Portuguese side being seen along the way? — and Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa, which booked its place in the group stage less than 48 hours earlier.
There’s your groups, folks. You won’t have to wait long to see it because this year’s group stage schedule is one that will be coming at you fast and quick, starting the first week of September and wrapping up the first week of November due to the winter World Cup.
Simply because of name recognition and what pot they came out of, Juve will be one of the two favorites to come out of the group alongside Paris Saint-Germain. That is always a bit of a guessing game seeing as Juventus can be a mixed bag in the Champions League in terms of performance level, but it’s worked out rather well in recent years in terms of getting to the knockout rounds.
The actual knockout rounds are a different story, but getting to that point of the game where you’re playing Champions League football in the new year hasn’t been the issue.
But the two fixtures against PSG will be the measuring stick to see just how competitive Juventus can be in this season’s tournament. Depending on how the schedule shakes out — and as of this writing it has not been released yet — but Bremer and the like will certainly be thrown into the fire against PSG’s high-powered attack that is scoring for fun to begin the 2022-23 campaign under new manager Christophe Galtier.
And as we seem to say ever year, the matchups against the team from Pot 3 — so in this case Benfica — could be the thing that turns Juve’s group stage fate for the good or the not very good at all. That is going to be a tough place to play, but a pair of fixtures that you would imagine Juventus should have a chance of getting six points just as long as the injuries aren’t still a major factor to some of the team’s best players.