Last season’s Champions League soccer finalists come onto conflict once more when Juventus host Real Madrid in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday (2.45pm ET).
Real Madrid were the victors when they met at the Millennium Stadium in Wales last May, securing their third Champions League trophy in four seasons with a comfortable 4-1 victory against a Juventus side who took an early lead but struggled to match Madrid thereafter.
For the Italians, it was a second Champions League final defeat in three seasons. Their previous appearance came in 2015, when they lost out to Barcelona. If that perhaps suggests they have problems in overcoming Spanish opposition, it is worth noting that in 2015 they eliminated Madrid at the semi-final stage, while Barcelona were dispatched in last year’s quarter-final.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side have, then, shown themselves capable of defeating Spain’s top two in recent years, even if they did fall to a 0-3 defeat to Barcelona during this season’s group stage. Their gritty display in overcoming Tottenham Hotspur to advance to the last eight showed they have the necessary smarts to successfully manage a two-legged knockout tie.
Juventus were second best for significant stretches of that encounter but a quick start in Turin and two swift and well-executed strikes in the return leg at Wembley, combined with some strong last-ditch defending, were sufficient to see them through.
Much of the club’s upturn in form since the start of December can be put down to a similar formula. Their 1-0 win away to title rivals Napoli on the 1st of that month was the first of 14 clean sheets in their last 16 matches in Serie A. They have enough quality in attacking areas, primarily in the form of Gonzalo Higuain and the talented Paulo Dybala, scorer of the opener in their 3-1 win over Milan on Saturday, to get the goal or two necessary for victory.
Their approach is perhaps not the most attractive, while Tottenham showed that they have some issues which can be exploited, but it is difficult to argue with the results. Since the start of December, they have won 20 and drawn three in all competitions, progressing in the Champions League and overturning a four-point deficit to Napoli to lead the Serie A title race by the same margin.
Real Madrid have never really be able to put together a similarly impressive run of form this season. Their longest winning streak in La Liga stands at four matches, a run they matched with their 3-0 win away to Las Palmas on Saturday. They were eliminated from the Spanish Cup by Leganes, while even in the Champions League, they drew at home and lost away to Tottenham during the group stage of this year’s competition.
With Barcelona realistically unreachable at the top of the league and no credible threat to their top-four position, the Champions League will now be their primary focus between now and the end of the campaign. A relatively comfortable 5-2 aggregate victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 showed they can still turn it on in Europe’s premier club competition.
While things haven’t really come together for them over the course of the season as a whole, the sheer quantity of quality they possess in both their starting XI and on their bench means they are a side who should never be discounted. The fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is now finding form after a difficult first half of the season simply adds to that sensation.
There is also just something about this competition that seems to bring increased focus to players and staff alike. By defeating Juventus in last season’s final, Madrid became the first team in the Champions League era to successfully defend their crown. In total, they have lifted the trophy on 12 occasions, five more than any other club.
Our Preview’s Juventus vs Real Madrid Betting Picks & Predictions Verdict
It will, then, be a tall task for Juventus to prevail over the course of the two legs, even if this current Madrid side clearly has some weaknesses. On home soil in Turin, they should be expected to have the slight edge. If everything goes well for them, a narrow first-leg victory could be theirs. So, turning to thoughts of our battle with the sports betting websites, this preview’s Juventus vs Real Madrid predictions and betting picks are:
- Bet on Juventus to win on the ‘draw no bet’ market @ evens (+100) with Bovada.