Despite winning three consecutive league titles under Antonio Conte, the mood around Juventus was one of uncertainty as the Old Lady begun their maiden season under Massimiliano Allegri back in the summer.
But now, after a 3-0 triumph over Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League last 16 second leg, Italy’s most successful club have their eyes on the biggest prize of all.
It has been nearly 20 years since Juventus were last crowned Champions of Europe, but under the former AC Milan manager they now have their best shot at the prize since making the final in 2003. They may be the only Italian side left in the competition but, with Carlos Tevez to the fore, are flying a flag that may be waved in victory come the end of the season in June.
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Juventus were drawn in a group consisting of Malmo, Atletico Madrid and Olympiakos and began their European quest with a comfortable victory over the former with Tevez scoring twice in a 2-0 victory.
Two damaging defeats to Atletico and Olympiakos then had the Italian’s staring down the barrel of group stage elimination, but a 3-2 win against the Greek outfit proved a turning point with midfield maestro Paul Pogba scoring the winner.
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Tevez and Fernando Llorente were the scorers when they triumphed against Malmo back in Sweden, before Gianluigi Buffon produced a goalkeeping masterclass to keep Diego Simeone’s Atletico at bay as the pair played out a 0-0 draw in Turin to send them through.
Borussia Dortmund had endured a miserable time of things in the Bundesliga prior to their last 16 meeting with Juventus, but despite losing the first leg 2-1 were still expected to pose a stern test in the return leg at the Signal Induna Park.
However Tevez was unstoppable, and truly rampant. The Argentinean forward may be persistently linked with a return to Boca Juniors or West Ham United, but he scored twice and provided an assist for Alvaro Morata as Jurgen Klopp’s side were blown away on home soil.
A quarter-final test against Monaco now awaits after the French side survived a scare to progress at the expense of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, and Juventus will now be favourites to reach the semi-finals for the first time since their unsuccessful pursuit of the trophy 12 years ago.
If Allegri does win the European Cup at the first time of asking then it would be a huge victory for Serie A given how the league has plummeted in quality in recent years.
An injury to Pogba could be potentially damaging but, with Tevez scoring, Buffon as solid as ever and Morata looking more accustomed to his new surroundings they are the dark horses to dethrone Real Madrid as European champions.
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