Champions League preview: Bayern's red hot strikers up against Juventus's rock-solid defence - Firstpost
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Champions League preview: Bayern's red hot strikers up against Juventus's rock-solid defence


Not much has thwarted the predatory instincts of Bayern Munich's Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski this season but even that dynamic duo will have their work cut out to pierce the rock-solid Juventus defence on Tuesday.

Mueller and Lewandowski have scored a remarkable 56 goals between them in all competitions this season but in Tuesday's Champions League last-16 round they will be up against a Juve rearguard which has kept nine successive clean sheets.

It is one of many reasons why the tie at the Juventus Stadium is likely to be a titanic duel between the champions and leaders of Italy's Serie A and Germany's Bundesliga, even though Juve could lose top spot should Napoli beat AC Milan on Monday.

Both are unbeaten in all competitions since early December and both have exactly the same record in their last 10 matches -- nine wins and one draw.

Bayern Munich's coach Pep Guardiola and Xabi Alonso during training ahead of Champions League match against Juventus. Reuters

Bayern Munich's coach Pep Guardiola and Xabi Alonso during training ahead of Champions League match against Juventus. Reuters

Bayern's last reverse, one of only two all season for Pep Guardiola's outfit, was against Borussia Moenchengladbach on 5 December while Juventus have not been beaten since they lost 1-0 at Sevilla in the Champions League on 8 December.

There will also be a return to savour for Bayern midfielder Arturo Vidal, back at the club he helped to four Serie A titles in a row, while Juve striker Mario Mandzukic is also in line to face his former team mates.

"We know that Bayern are one of the three best teams in the world, but we're playing at home and Juventus Stadium will give us a real boost," said Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli.

"Every team has its weaknesses and it's our job to find them."

Vidal has already promised he will not celebrate if he scores and told Gazzetta dello Sport that he was relishing the prospect of facing Paul Pogba in midfield.

Very Compact

The teams last met in the quarter-finals of the same competition three seasons ago, when Bayern won both legs 2-0. Since that second leg, Juventus have played 16 European home games without defeat.

Overall, Juventus and Bayern have met eight times with only two wins for Juventus -- the last in 2005.

Former Bayern forward Miroslav Klose summed up the difficulties facing the Bavarians.

"I know from my own experience that it's very, very hard to score against Juve," said Klose who now plays in Serie A with Lazio.

"They're very compact and their defence is very organised even when they lose possession but they also have great quality in the centre and up front.

"You don't want to go a goal down against them, that just makes it even harder."

He added: "Bayern might make it difficult for Juve in their own half with aggressive pressing. They have to disrupt their build-up play and be quick on the break. This is Juve's weakness if you can call it one after so many wins."

Juventus v Bayern Munich factfile

Form: Bologna ended Juventus's 15-match winning streak in the league on Friday night as they battled to a 0-0 draw. However, the Old Lady of Turin remain unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions, winning 13 of those, since losing their final Champions League group stage match 1-0 at Sevilla. Bayern's form is very similar with nine wins and a draw in their last 10 since losing 3-1 at Borussia Moenchengladbach in early December. Both sides lost only one group stage match, although Juve's two draws cost them top spot to a Manchester City side they had beaten home and away.

Coaches:

Juventus - Massimiliano Allegri - 48 yrs

Bayern Munich - Pep Guardiola - 45 yrs

Leading scorers in all competitions:

Juventus - Paulo Dybala 14

Bayern Munich - Robert Lewandowski 32

Domestic league performance:

Juventus - Top of Serie A ahead of second-placed Napoli's clash with AC Milan on Monday night. Although they could lose top spot, they have won 15 and drawn one of their last 16, making up for a disastrous start to the season.

Bayern Munich - Still eight points clear of Borussia Dortmund as they aim for an unprecedented fourth straight Bundesliga crown. Eight wins and a draw in their last nine league matches helps explain their big lead.

Group stage performance:

Juventus - second in Group D behind Manchester City

Bayern Munich - Winners of Group F ahead of Arsenal

European Cup/Champions League best performances:

Juventus - winners in 1985 and 1996

Bayern Munich - Five-time winners (1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013)

Other honours:

Juventus - 31x Italian champions, 10x Italian Cup, 7x Italian Supercup, 1x UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, 3x UEFA Cup/Europa League, 2x European Supercup, 2x Intercontinental Cup

Bayern Munich - 25x German champions, 17x German cup, 4x German Supercup, 1x European Cup Winners' Cup, 1x UEFA Cup/Europa League, 1x European Supercup, 2x Intercontinental Cup 1x FIFA Club World Cup

Previous meetings:

Juventus 1 Bayern Munich 0 - 2004/05 Champions League group stage

Bayern Munich 0 Juventus 1 - 2004/05 Champions League group stage

Bayern Munich 2 Juventus 1 - 2005/06 Champions League group stage

Juventus 2 Bayern Munich 1 - 2005/06 Champions League group stage

Bayern Munich 0 Juventus 0 - 2009/10 Champions League group stage

Juventus 1 Bayern Munich 4 - 2009/10 Champions League group stage

Bayern Munich 2 Juventus 0 - 2012/13 Champions League quarter-finals

Juventus 0 Bayern Munich 2 - 2012/13 Champions League quarter-finals

Agencies

First Published On : Feb 23, 2016 13:39 IST

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