Juventus are set to host Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League at Juventus Stadium.
Juve went 2-0 up at Wanda Metropolitano against Atletico Madrid in game-1 but failed to see out the match as goals from Stefan Savic (70′) and Hector Herrera (90′) pegged the Italian outfit back to a 2-2 draw. Still, the Old Lady is overwhelmingly favorite to win the group.
That said, the game was a reminder of defensive fragilities this team seems to be suffering from these days, an open secret at the moment due to the absence of Giorgio Chiellini. Maurizio Sarri has to shore things up, or find a better solution, for the Italian champions may be too good for most of the Serie A, such issues could disastrous for Sarri once the Champions League knockout phase starts in February.
Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, are hard-pressed for a win after losing 1-2 at home against Lokomotiv Moscow in game-1.
The Champions League match will be played between Juventus and Bayer Leverkusen at Juventus Stadium, in Italy. The ground has a capacity of 41,507.
The game will start at 12:30 AM (IST), on Wednesday, October 02.
Sony Sports Network has the exclusive rights to broadcast Champions League matches in India. Premier members can also enjoy the live-action on the official SonyLiv App.
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Recent form (Last six matches)
Juventus – W D D W W W
Bayer Leverkusen – W D L L W W
Juventus Team News:
Club captain Giorgio Chiellini remains out due to knee injury, along with fellow teammate and long-term absentee Marco Pjaca.
Douglas Costa and Mattia De Sciglio also miss out on this game through injuries, while Emre Can and Mario Mandzukic are both not eligible to play after Sarri dropped the duo from his Champions League group stage squad.
Expect emergency full-backs:
Alex Sandro was not available for Juventus’ league action against SPAL at the weekend as the Brazilian flew out to Brazil due to a death in his family, while Danilo is recovering from a muscle injury and won’t be available until after the next international break.
As a result, Sarri used Juan Cuadrado and Blaise Matuidi as his wing-backs in the last game and could once again name the duo in the unfamiliar positions.
That said, Sandro has returned to Juve training ground and could be named in the playing 11 here.
Inter Milan – Derby d’Italia:
There is a small matter of Derby d’Italia this weekend. Maurizio Sarri is expected to name his playing 11 for Leverkusen clash while keeping one eye on that massive fixture against Inter Milan.
If Sandro starts the match, Matuidi could move back to the midfield, while Miralem Pjanic should form the base of the midfield, with either Adrien Rabiot or Sami Khedira starting the game.
Gonzalo Higuain pushes for a start after remaining on the bench at the weekend.
Juventus Probable XI: Szczesny (GK), Sandro, Ligt, Bonucci, Cuadrado, Rabiot, Pjanic, Matuidi, Ramsey, Ronaldo, Higuain
Bayer Leverkusen Team News:
Leon Bailey is the only confirmed injury absentee for the visitors ahead of this game. The 22-year-old Jamaican midfielder picked up an injury during Leverkusen’s last Champions League game against Lokomotiv Moscow and still recovering.
Karim Bellarabi is also a doubt as he recovers from an illness that forced him to miss Leverkusen 0-3 triumph over Augsburg last weekend.
Like a new signing:
Joel Pohjanpalo hasn’t kicked a ball for Bayer Leverkusen in the last 18-months, but the 25-year-old Finnish has returned to the training this week following a complete recovery from a serious knee injury. Only the match fitness is keeping him away from the first-team involvement.
Bayer Leverkusen Probable XI (Very tentative): Hradecky (GK), L. Bender, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell, Demirbay, Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz, Havertz, Alario, Volland
Likely to score:
Captain and Vice-Captain options:
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JUV vs LEV Dream11 potential winner:
Juventus are clear favorite to win the game.