“We went into the Cardiff game overconfident and that was mistake number one,” Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon admitted ahead of Tuesday’s repeat of last season’s Champions League final against Real Madrid.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side are unlikely to make the same error of judgment when Zinedine Zidane returns to the club, if not the stadium, buy cheap authentic nfl jerseys where he secured his status as the finest player of his generation. Over the course of the past two seasons, the Real Madrid manager has made a pretty decent fist of laying claim to being the preeminent coach in continental competition as well. But if Juve are confident going into the first leg against the reigning champions, they have good reason to be.
Over the past two decades, Madrid hold sway in terms of finals, defeating the Old Lady in Amsterdam in 1997-98 and again in the Welsh capital last season. During the same period, Juventus reign supreme over 180 minutes, knocking out Madrid in the semifinals in 2002-03 and 2014-15 and at the last-16 stage in 2004-05.
Juve’s home form in the Champions League is formidable: the last side to beat the Serie A giants in Turin was Bayern Munich in 2012-13, a 2-0 second-leg victory in the quarterfinals. Juve are unbeaten in 23 consecutive games since then.
Zidane will be well aware that he does not need to crack that seemingly impregnable nut. Real haven’t lost a home game in the knockout stages of the competition since March 2015, when Schalke pulled off a 4-3 victory in the Bernabeu. There will be no lack of confidence on Real’s side about the tie either, although Zidane will approach the opening 90 minutes with a measure of caution.
Second-guessing Allegri’s tactical approach is no easy task, but the Juve boss did perhaps offer a hint of his intentions in the 3-1 win over AC Milan last weekend, when he deployed a 3-5-2. The Italian does not often play three at the back but did so at home against Barcelona in the group stage and became one of only three managers to prevent Ernesto Valverde’s side from finding the net this season.
Juve’s own “BBC” — Andrea Barzagli, Medhi Benatia and Giorgio Chiellini — started against Milan, but Benatia is suspended for the first leg. discount nfl jerseys Daniele Rugani is the most likely candidate to deputise if Allegri goes for a three-man defence, but he also has the option of playing four at the back, as he did against Tottenham, with Barzagli and the fit-again Alex Sandro in the full-back positions.