As impressive as Juventus were throughout the season in both the Serie A and the Champions League, it’s hard to believe that they’ll be able to be that much better on a single night of football against a Bayern Munich side many see as the best football team in Europe, heading into the second leg with a confident two-goal lead from the first.
While the injury of Toni Kroos means Arjen Robben is in the lineup, the return of Javi Martinez means Bayern have a good chance of feeling comfortable in sitting back, waiting for a chance to strike against a desperate Juventus side, who are pretty close to clinching a second consecutive Italian championship, but are more desperate to try and reach the Champions League semifinal for the first time since 2003.
But Juventus have big problems due to suspensions – both Stephan Lichtsteiner and Arturo Vidal picked up yellow cards that are preventing them from showing up to the deciding leg, meaning Mauricio Isla, who hasn’t been featured much this season, and Paul Pogba, the unpredictable French talent, will get to start instead. While Pogba on a good day can be a tiebreaker with his long range shooting and creativity, Isla is a huge drop from what the Swiss international gives on the right wing.
They key to Juve’s success will be the ability of Mirko Vucinic, who isn’t having the greatest of seasons, but his forward playmaking position might force Bayern to shift and move out of position, giving a bit more freedom to Claudio Marchisio coming from behind. Another interesting matchup will be that of Kwadwo Asamoah on the left wing, and his ability to both handle Arjen Robben and keep Phillip Lahm busy.
Prediction – While Juventus can and probably will win this one, it’s hard to believe they’ll be beating a better Bayern side by three goals, which is what they need in order to make it through into the semifinal.