Barcelona’s Clash with Juventus Should Get the Champions League Off to a Entertaining Start
The Champions League is back on September 12, and it’s thrown up some eye-catching ties in the first round of group games. The standout fixture takes place at the Nou Camp where Barcelona and Juventus meet again in the competition with the Catalan outfit looking for revenge.
The Serie A outfit held out for a goalless draw last season in the quarter-finals of the competition before finishing the job at the Juventus Stadium. Massimiliano Allegri’s side eventually reached the final of the tournament before losing to Barca’s La Liga rivals Real Madrid.
Since that defensive masterclass, Juventus have lost Leonardo Bonucci to big-spending AC Milan but will be once again aiming to keep things tight and limit the Blaugrana’s opportunities. The two sides also met in the 2015 final, where goals from Ivan Rakatic, Neymar and Luis Suarez helped secure a 3-1 success for the Catalan outfit.
Sporting Club De Portugal and Greek Super League outfit Olympiakos make up the remainder of Group D.
It hasn’t been the smoothest of starts at the Nou Camp for new boss Ernesto Valverde, who watched his side crash and burn across two legs in the Spanish Super Cup, whilst the loss of Neymar to PSG and the ongoing contract dispute with legendary midfielder Andres Iniesta haven’t helped his cause. A victory here against the Serie A giants will go some way to getting fans back on side.
Juventus have started Serie A in swashbuckling style but face stiff competition from AC Milan, free-scoring Napoli and a rejuvenated Inter for their domestic title this season. They’ll be aiming to reach the final of the Champions League once again and if they can escape the Catalan cauldron with at least a point, they’ll be confident of progression.