Football

Juventus can overhaul Barcelona in Champions League final

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The stage is all set in Berlin where Italian giants Juventus will play the formidable Barcelona on June 6. 

Barcelona will go into the game as favourites but the role as underdogs could bode well in Juventus' favour. Both have been exceptional in this year's competition and have fought off Europe's elite to get to showpiece final. But there can only be one winner! 

It seems, after a poor couple of seasons, Italian football is back and clubs are finally representing in Europe's elite competitions again. Juventus reaching their first final since 2003 has been matched alongside a strong run by Napoli who could still reach the Europa League final.

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There was a time when Italian clubs were such feared opponents in Europe and it appears these good times may be coming back. Juventus destroyed many people's dream of an El Classico final and here is five reasons why they can overhaul the might of Barcelona. 

1. Experience

Experience heads will count for so much at this time of the season and Juventus have it in abundance. Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, Giorgio Chiellini, Patrice Evra and even Carlos Tevez have all been in this position before and know how to handle the occasion. 

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It may well be a game of patience against Barcelona because trying to out-attack them seems virtually impossible, as Bayern Munich found out. Juventus will need to hold firm and pick the right moments to exploit the Spanish giants and it will be up to these experienced players to find out when these moments are. 

2. Solid defence

Juventus have conceded just seven goals in the 12 games they have played in this year's Champions League which is three less than Barcelona. The Italian club may not have the firepower that Catalan giants possess but when it comes to shutting the opposition out, no one has done it better than Juventus in the last few rounds. 

Having only conceded two goals in their last five Champions League matches they will need to keep this run going into the final to stop Barcelona's terrifying trio. So far this season Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez have colossal 113 goals and 39 assists between them in all competitions so it could be a long 90 minutes for that Juventus defence. 

3. Treble ambitions

After winning a fourth straight Serie A title and a Coppa Italia final with Lazio still to come on May 20, Juventus are facing a real possibility of creating history. They are looking to become only the second Italian team to win all three major competitions in one season following Inter Milan's triumph in 2010 under Jose Mourinho. 

Manager Massimiliano Allegri will be looking to become the first manager in history to win the three biggest competitions at club level in his first season in charge. André Villas-Boas did win a treble in his first year in charge of Porto in 2011 but won the UEFA Europa League and not the Champions League. 

4. Brilliant Buffon

A fine wine only gets better with age and that is exactly the case with goalkeeper Buffon. The Italian veteran will be looking to win the Champions League for the first time in his long, illustrious career after falling short in 2003. 

The 37-year-old holds the record for most clean sheets for both club and country, with 248 in Serie A and 60 for Italy. The only two major competitions he has failed to win are the Champions League and European Championships; if he manages to chalk one of these off in Berlin then the keeper could retire in the most sensational style by going onto win Euro 2016. 

5. Suarez revenge

Revenge can be ever so sweet sometimes and it is certainly on the cards for Evra and Chiellini, who both have a score to settle with Suarez. Both have been involved with high-profile incidents with the Uruguayan which both resulted in lengthy bans. 

In December 2011, Suarez was handed an eight-match ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Evra in a clash with Manchester United and then later refused to shake the defender's hand in the reverse fixture. More recently, the former Liverpool striker bit Chiellini's shoulder in the 2014 World Cup and was subsequently suspended from all football-activity for four months. Does anyone believe in karma?

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Topics:
Football
Paul Pogba
Lionel Messi
Patrice Evra
UEFA Champions League
Luis Suarez
Barcelona

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