Chris Williams –
Juventus vs Bayer Leverkusen – Tuesday, October 1, 20:00BST/21:00CEST – Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy
Bayer Leverkusen once again face Italian giants Juventus. The last time the two clubs met was way back in the 2001/02 season – when the German side went all the way to the final, eventually beaten in Glasgow by Real Madrid.
It has been 24 years since the Old Lady of Turin last lifted aloft Europe’s biggest prize. In the past, it has consumed their very nature – becoming an almost Holy Grail. Twice beaten finalists in the past five seasons, the eight straight champions of Serie A regard this as the competition they must win once again.
The signature of Cristiano Ronaldo was one way that the Italian club tried to ensure their name was to be etched next onto the famous old trophy, but elimination to Ajax last season put a stop to any such dreams.
It is a quest that head coach Maurizio Sarri said they must relax into:
“The Champions League is really the top (competition) for a player and coach, but at the same time, we should also have fun. At the moment it is difficult for Italian teams to be amongst the favourites. English teams are favourites for obvious reasons but we should be easier on ourselves. The idea is to really cheer up a little bit.” the Italian said in his pre-match press conference Tuesday.
Bayer Leverkusen must forget a nightmare opening to the 2019/20 Champions League season as they travel to the 1996 winners, Juventus.
Beaten 2-1 at home by Lokomotiv Moskva the Werkself now find themselves in a ‘do or die’ situation. Defeat in Turin would almost certainly signal a return to the Europa League come the new year in a competition that Peter Bosz failed miserably in during his short stint at Borussia Dortmund.
“We’d put it on ourselves to win at home against Moscow, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Now we have to pick up points elsewhere. Tomorrow is our first opportunity to do so.” Bayer’s head coach said Tuesday evening.
Juventus vs Bayer Leverkusen – Players to look out for:
Cristiano Ronaldo #7 – Juventus
The Portuguese master returned to the Juventus starting lineup over the weekend, scoring as the Bianconeri swept aside minows, SPAL.
In a competition that he has won five times, the winger turned forward also hold the record for the most number of Champions League goals scored, 126 in 163 appearances. Bayer Leverkusen could be in for a long autumnal night in Turin.
Kai Havertz #29 – Bayer Leverkusen
The 20-year-old will make just his fifth appearance in Europe’s premier competition Tuesday, but he has the eyes of the continent firmly on him.
With a counter-attacking style, the German international has an ability to drive at opposition backlines with tremendous pace. Possessing the talent to either finish from distance or play in a teammate with the most delicate of passes he retains the potential to be a winning influence as Leverkusen chase an all-important victory in Italy.
Juventus vs Bayer Leverkusen – Match Stats
- The only past fixture between the two sides on Italian soil came in the second group stage of the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League – which Juve won easily, 4-0
- Bayer Leverkusen are without a win in their last five visits to Italy – P5 D1 L4
- Juventus have struggled against German opposition at home since that 2001/02 victory against Bayer – P5 W1 D2 L2
- The Werkself have two victories from their last 14 UEFA Champions League matches
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Juventus vs Bayer Leverkusen – 3-1
Tottenham vs Bayern Munich – Lineups
Szczesny – Cuadrado, Bonucci, de Ligt, Sandro – Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi – Ramsey – Higuain, Ronaldo
Head Coach: Maurizio Sarri
Hradecky – Dragovic, S. Bender, Wendell – Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger – L. Bender, Havertz, Amiri, Volland – Alario
Head Coach: Peter Bosz
Chris Williams is a freelance European football journalist. Covering the Bundesliga, Premier League and both of UEFA’s European club competitions. Published in both local and international publications, he also contributes to television and radio across the globe. A member of the UK’s Sports Journalist Association and the International Sports Press Association (AIPS). Follow Chris Williams on Twitter @Chris78Williams