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Bayern Munich v Juventus: Champions League preview

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Bayern Munich are keen to make amends for last season (©GettyImages)
Bayern Munich are keen to make amends for last season (©GettyImages).

Eight of Europe's best clubs, including Bayern Munich and Juventus, have booked themselves a date in the Champions League quarter-finals.

On the road to Wembley, we have arrived at the last eight stage and the first pairing of matches tonight sees Barcelona pay a visit to the 'nouveau riche' Paris Saint Germain, while in the other game two of Europe's historic clubs lock horns as Juventus make the journey to the Allianz Arena to take on Bavarian giants Bayern Munich.

If Real Madrid v Manchester United was the tie of the previous round, then Bayern v Juve is the pick of the quarter-finals.

This is a tricky one. Bayern will come into the game as favourites by virtue of being the most solid team in this year's competition and having finished runners-Up last year. They have been ruthless all season, qualifying top from a somewhat weak group with only Spanish side Valencia offering any competition.

Then they went to Arsenal and put in a performance so complete that it effectively killed the tie after the first leg. The pundits brought out all the superlatives in the book to describe that performance and while it was definitely impressive, they were aided in their efforts by a very average Arsenal team.

The Gunners showed some better fight in the second leg and actually managed to ruffle a few German feathers as they were a goal away from knocking Bayern out of the competition. Over the weekend, they hammered the living daylights out of Hamburg with a 9-2 demolition and are certain to win the Bundesliga at a canter. Looking at all of this, the home game against Arsenal is clearly an aberration.

But what that game did expose is some traditional failings. Once frustrated and when the opponent does manage to get under their skins a bit, they do tend to panic a bit. True, they were missing some key personnel through injury but Jupp Heynckes would have definitely been disconcerted with that showing.

And here's where Antonio Conte and his Juventus side come into the picture. The team from Turin are a compact unit and a very efficient one. They do have some issues in the striking department, but their central midfield and defence is amongst the best in business. They knocked last year's winners Chelsea out at the group stage and, along with Borussia Dortmund, are one of two teams in the competition to remain unbeaten so far.

Yes, they played Celtic in the first knockout phase - not exactly top opposition - but they battled Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk in their group and emerged unscathed. Where they can hurt Bayern is in the midfield area, a key reason for their dominance this season.

The Germans' midfield machine has Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez in the engine room with Toni Kroos, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller roaming ahead making for a dangerous combination. But, the 'Bianconeri' have the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio in their ranks, two classy midfielders who have been playing together for a long time now for club and country.

Add the doggedness and grit of Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba and you have a quartet that can unhinge any side. Juve also boast a watertight defence and where the trio of Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli have been simply superb along with the reassuring presence of Gianluigi Buffon in goal, easily the best goalkeeper around of the remaining teams.

The tie will see the clash of two of the best midfields in Europe and if Juve can win that battle, they could just upstage the might of Munich. It's also the best attack in the competition going up against the best defence. Bayern with 18 goals have been the most potent side in front of goal tied with Real Madrid, while Juventus hold the meanest defence having conceded just four goals in their eight games.

Team news

Mario Gomez's availability remains a doubt and his inclusion will be subject to a late fitness test. There are no other injury worries for Heynckes and David Alaba will return to the team after being rested over the weekend.

Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella could start up front for Juve if Serbian Mirko Vucinic misses out as he has been struggling with a flu and missed the game against Inter at the weekend. Giorgio Chiellini is back from injury and will go straight into their defensive set up.

 

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Football
UEFA Champions League
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