This might not be a glamour tie like Real Madrid vs Manchester United but when it comes to the clash of titans it is just as significant. Juventus and Bayern Munich have looked impressive in the Champions League this year and are both dominating their domestic leagues.
Juventus might not be the bookies favourite for this tie but almost all the fans are backing them to win after Bayern’s dramatic collapse against Arsenal.
Coming to the tie, it’s very evenly balanced. Juventus have the best defence in Europe even if the stats sing a different tune. Bayern have conceded merely 11 goals in Bundesliga so far with just two goals away from home but if you look beyond the Bundesliga the current leaders are no match for their rivals in defence.
Philip Lahm is the best fullback in the world and Dante is quickly turning into a defensive beast but he has failed to find his best form on the European stage - his lack of experience has betrayed him far too often.
David Alaba has been touted as the next big thing by many, in spite of starting as central midfielder he has made the left back position his own, his moment of glory was when he nullified Ronaldo’s threat in the Champions League semi-final last year.
Ever since he hasn’t looked back and together with his telepathic understanding with Franck Ribery has been a joy to watch.
Still there are glaring deficiencies in his defensive abilities, he can be caught out of position often and his ability to bomb down the flank regularly makes him vulnerable on counter attacks.
As far as the other central defenders are concerned, Jerome Boateng has been horribly out of touch and Daniel Van Buyten isn’t getting any younger.
Juventus on the other hand have the best-organised defence in the whole of Europe, their three-man backline starring Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini is the stuff of dreams for any team.
What makes their impregnable defence even better is the defensive mind of their midfield with Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo, Juventus can rightfully claim to have one of the best midfields in world football.
While Pirlo is the leader, Vidal is the destroyer winning the most tackles. Bayern Munich will have to be at their best to keep that midfield from controlling the game.
In spite of a midfield that can terrorise any opposition with their tactical nous and intelligent reading of the game, Juventus would never find it easy to get much of the ball when they play a midfield which has the 2nd highest possession and 2nd best pass accuracy rate in the whole of Europe.
While this might not cause Juventus much trouble as they don’t really enjoy controlling possession, they would gladly sit back and let Bayern press for a goal very much like Chelsea last season but this is where it can go wrong.
For Bayern both Mario Gomez and Mario Mandzukic are World Class. Juventus simply lack a striker. As proved by Chelsea last season and Arsenal last week, a powerful number 9 is an important feature for any team hoping to pass the giants in Bayern’s defence. Bayern struggled to deal with Didier Drogba and Olivier Giroud in equal measure.
The other problem Bayern have had is defending corners. Juventus need a striker in the box or a powerful player to head home from a corner. While Bayern rarely concede corners, Juventus’ four strikers don’t compare in size and power as Drogba or Giroud is considered.
On the other hand Bayern haven’t used their main striker ungtil now, Mandzukic has been great in Bundesliga but Gomez is playing on a different level.
It’s about time to give the man his due, his fine form in the last two seasons deserves a starting place. Gomez is among the best strikers in the world and any team would struggle to keep him out of their first XI.
of attacking option they have. Quite ironically Vidal has been their best attacking option.
Overall this will be a very tactical match. Juventus will struggle with their inefficient strikers to make the most of the few chances Bayern will allow them. Juventus defence won’t be easy to break down but to stop Ribery, Thomas Muller, Gomez and Mandzukic from scoring would be a Herculean task.
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