5 talkings points ahead of Juventus v Barcelona

10 April 2017 05:40

Juventus meet Barcelona in Turin on Tuesday in a repeat of the 2015 Champions League final.

Barca were 3-1 winners in Berlin that day but seem to have lost their aura somewhat as they prepare for a reunion with Italy's strongest club side in the quarter-finals of this year's edition.

Here we break down the first-leg meeting.

Can Juve 'do a PSG' at home?

Barcelona's progression to this stage seemed unfathomable when Paris St Germain routed them 4-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie in France. The astonishing comeback three weeks later deflected from the woeful performance they produced in Paris and their away form has been something of a concern, with three of their past five trips ending in defeat, including Saturday's 2-0 loss to Malaga. For once, Juventus may prefer having the home leg first.

Is this when Gonzalo Higuain justifies his fee?

When Juventus splashed out 90million euros (£75.3m) on Higuain to sign him from Napoli last summer, they had already won five straight Serie A titles. The Argentinian's acquisition was therefore motivated more by a desire to deliver them the continent's biggest prize, one that has eluded them for over 20 years, and this is the stage where he has to perform. He scored three times against Barcelona when he was a Real Madrid player and recently netted twice against his old club Napoli to show his appetite for the big games is there.

How will Juve cope with Messi, Suarez and Neymar?

Two years ago MSN won their first Champions League together with that 3-1 victory over Juve in the Berlin final. Giorgio Chiellini's injury then meant Juventus could not counter with their own BBC triumvirate, but he is available again here and could join fellow centre-back Leonardo Bonucci and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in a vastly-experienced back line that may just be able to nullify football's most exciting attacking trio.

Will Sergio Busquets' ban be crucial?

One man who will be missing in Italy is Barcelona's suspended midfielder Sergio Busquets. Often an under-appreciated cog in Luis Enrique's team, his value may be emphasised in his absence if the visitors fail to dictate possession in the middle of the park as they normally do. Luis Suarez is the only outfield Barca player to have made more La Liga starts than Busquets this term and the central-midfield area is certainly one the hosts will look to exploit.

Will Dani Alves show Barca what they're missing?

Alves spent eight trophy-laden seasons in Catalonia before moving to Turin this summer, and he has not bitten his tongue since his departure, accusing his old club of being "false and ungrateful". Few would enjoy dumping them out of the Champions League more than the Brazilian, but at 33 he is not even a regular, and may not be able to produce at the level he did during his near decade-long stint at the Nou Camp.

Source: PA-WIRE


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