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Saturday March 16 2013
Master and Apprentice

Alex Mott looks at the tactical and individual battles that could decide Juve’s Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich.

In a group of mouth-watering fixtures, this is perhaps the stand-out clash. Two domestic and European giants going head-to-head in a bid for continental glory – an unstoppable force and an immovable object curtailing towards one another.

Bayern Munich versus Juventus in the quarter-finals of the Champions League is a tie to get the heart racing and a match that might bring back some painful memories for fans of the Bianconeri.

The last time Juve lost in Europe’s premier club competition it was to the Bavarian giants – back in December 2009. That 4-1 defeat contributed greatly to Ciro Ferrara losing his job in Piedmont, and only four members of the squad that night survive in Antonio Conte’s current incarnation.

Gianluigi Buffon, Martin Caceres, Claudio Marchisio and Sebastian Giovinco were all on the receiving end of a drubbing that night, and will be hoping to banish the ghosts of the past when they visit the Allianz Arena for the first leg on April 2.

The recent past may bring up bad memories for the Turin giants, but in the here and now it seems the Bundesliga leaders are the ones worrying, as midfielder Toni Kroos admitted to UEFA. “Juventus have eliminated Chelsea, the winners of the last Champions League,” he said. “So I think, for us, they are the hardest team to face after Barcelona. To win we have to give our best and not concede a goal at home – that will be crucial.”

The young Germany international will be at the heart of a midfield that includes Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger – and it is that key battleground that could well decide the outcome of this last eight clash.

Bayern’s central trio will come into direct confrontation with the Old Lady’s triumvirate of Marchisio, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo, with both staking a claim for the best midfield in Europe this season.

It is Kroos who could have the biggest bearing on the match. Sitting in the pocket where Pirlo likes to control the game – the two of them will be vying for the same space and the same time on the ball. Master and apprentice fighting to the death. Both technical wizards with an eye for an assists – a slight advantage in one’s favour and it will potentially see the other team out of the competition.

Of course, Kroos and Pirlo could cancel each other out of the game, and that’s where the Bianconeri’s flying wing-backs have the power to win it for their team – and lose it in the same breath.

Juve’s 3-5-2 formation has very obvious attacking advantages against Bayern Munich’s orthodox 4-2-3-1, but even the slightest ill-discipline in defensive responsibilities and the German team’s wingers have the required quality to punish the smallest mistake. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben may have been plagued by injuries and inconsistent form in the past, but with Stephan Lichtsteiner and probably Kwadwo Asamoah keen to push forward and create width, it could see the Dutch and French flyers with space and time to find one of the continent’s most in-form strikers – Mario Mandzukic.

It’s a fascinating tie contested between the top teams in Serie A and the Bundesliga. Let’s enjoy it for what it is – two juggernauts fighting for a place amongst the best four teams in Europe.

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Have your say...
this is real test for juventus to know their strength if they can compete a team like barca or madrid let's see what will happen in the match
on the 21st March, 2013 at 5:54pm
Quag and Matri better start this game! Who agrees? Anyone who watches then and understands soccer will agree. Vucinic is good so he cud start too. But plz no Giovinco! He gets pushed off the ball too much! We need pure STRICKERS vucinic and Giovinco are supporting strikers. Matri and quag score and vucinic sometimes too. Matri and quag start peluso on the left and u guys know the rest. Pogba and giaccarini and vucinic sub in the second half. That's how it shud go we need to attack bayern
on the 18th March, 2013 at 11:39pm
It's not easy to stop bayern, but the key will be in midfield. While both licht and asamoah might be going forward couple times, then marchisio and vidal have to watch and being first wall for both ribery and robben. Once they manage to keep robben and ribery in their box, then bayern attack is 80% nullified, the rest will be muller, kroos and schwein, but trio barzagli, bonucci and chiellini should be capable to get them out
on the 17th March, 2013 at 4:18am
The time is now juve. Make it happen, its your time juve. Forza juve and lazio. Watching inter was tough so unlucky, if only they d turned up for the 1st leg. Cassano better be in cesare squad. How he hasnt been picked recently is a joke. We need a good win against parma tomorrow and to keep going. Forza roma.
on the 16th March, 2013 at 11:14pm
It's so annoying how the strongest teams like real and barca seem to always get easy teams to play.

I'm worried about bayern. Kroos was being modest saying what he said. I worry so much as Pirlo get dispossessed a lot and rapid counters happen especially with robben and ribery. Pirlo does not track back. Kroos does.

I want Pirlo to start and if he keeps losing the ball or is man marked then conte has to think about pogba. Juve need to b fit, I want lungs busting like barca off the ball.
on the 16th March, 2013 at 7:12pm
messi proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, he is barca. if niang had got his goal, it would most probably have been over. barca's def is an incredible comedy. it's their weakness. i think someone will exploit it and they'll sit out. juve has a very good chance no matter who they play simply because they have a great def, mid and off. probably the most complete team. kroos and pirlo cancel each other out? funniest thing i've ever heard!
on the 16th March, 2013 at 7:05pm
bayern's def is terrible. if juve's def is on, which it is 98% of the time, and they're mid and forwards are flying, like 96% of the time, and they have the win to win, like the last two years, bayern's in for a lot of trouble. the english media almost always pick bayern or germany whenever an english team is out. i think the true favourites are barca and juve, whom i would love to see play. but, barca did not convince me against a tired milan with 7 seven players who'd never played in the CL.
on the 16th March, 2013 at 6:59pm
I will never forget that final in Amsterdam Arena. When Madrid's coach, Heynckes, said they deserved the glory while they won with an offside goal.

It's time to avenge 1998 final with Conte. Heynckes YOU ARE DOOMED !
on the 16th March, 2013 at 3:41pm
Huh, what a babbling article supported with no stats or facts.

Bayern strength comes from the flanks! Full-backs and wingers. That's to start out. Secondly, Martinez is suspended for the first leg game.

Do your work Mott! But I expected no objectivity from you, as usual.
on the 16th March, 2013 at 3:37pm
I agree with the article almost entirely, but the idea that whoever wins is in the best 4 teams in europe is not quite true. The luck of the draw means that Real and Dortmund are very likely to progress. I think those 2 teams are no stronger than Juve or Bayern, regardless of the outcome of this tie. Barca are still a cut above the rest, simply because they have messi
on the 16th March, 2013 at 3:31pm
its gonna be a very interesting and fascinating game. The first team to score will have the enviable advantage although as a juve fan i xpect the bianconeri to progress.
on the 16th March, 2013 at 1:58pm
Going to be very gripping. Think Buffon and Pirlo's experience could be vital if the going gets tough. Would love Juve to win!(Spurs fan)would stop the rest of England treating Bayern like royalty which they most certainly aren't.

Juve can definitely win. Will be won by small margins
on the 16th March, 2013 at 12:55pm
I forgot to add, its Juventus, Dortmund, Madrid & Barca in the semi's
on the 16th March, 2013 at 12:51pm
This is a very intriguing encounter, could go either way. That said Bayern's defence doesn't look solid as Arsenal exploited it a bit in Germany but their attack is second to Barcelona.

I hope Juve can get atleast a draw in Germany & a win at home, after all revenge is on the cards...
on the 16th March, 2013 at 12:20pm
I wonder how much the juve wing backs can push forward if both robben and ribery play. These guys won't track back at all and have pace in abundance. Throw arguably the best attacking full back in europe, Phillip Lahm, and juve have a real test on their hands. A fascinating tactical battle, what a tie!
on the 16th March, 2013 at 12:15pm

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