Bayern Munich vs Juventus Preview

UEFA Champions League | Wednesday 16 March | Allianz Arena | 21:45




Bayern Munich will welcome Juventus to Bavaria for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie. After a mind-blowing 2-2 stalemate in the first leg, the European giants will lock horns once more. Both teams have been in phenomenal form, but only one of the two can advance to the next round. Which team will prevail victorious? 

To Win (90mins)
Bayern Munich 4/10
Draw 7/2
Juventus 6/1

Bayern Munich

Bayern looked well set to cruise into the quarter-finals when Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben struck either side of half-time in Turin, but first UEFA Champions League goals from Paulo Dybala and Stefano Sturaro brought Juve level and extended their unbeaten home European record to 17 matches, since Bayern's last vist in 2013. Bayern could afford to be disheartened with the manner in which they threw away a two-goal lead in Turin, making the return leg that much more difficult than it might have been. 

Generally, such a scoreline would greatly favour the away team in this situation, and though Bayern are well-placed to progress, they will feel they should already be out of sight. One of the more remarkable things about Bayern is not just that they were able to dominate a side that could reasonably be one of the top five in Europe, but also, the manner in which they did so impressive - for a while at least. The Bavarians were in unstoppable form at home in the group stage, winning their three games against Dinamo Zagreb, Arsenal and Olympiacos with an aggregate score of 14-1. 

They have won their last three home matches against Italian opponents including a 2-0 success against Roma in last season's group stage. Bayern have plenty of players that can harm Juventus: Muller, Robert Lewandowski, Robben, Douglas Costa as well as Franck Ribery - all of which have tremendous pace, skill, creativity and goal scoring prowess. But key to this talented team is none other than Muller. The 2014 World Cup winner has an impressive eye for goal, and his movement off the ball is simply exceptional as he drifts in behind defenders with his silky runs. If he fails to lift the team, then as we know, there are many others among the Bavarians that have the capability of getting the job done. 



Juventus

Last season's Champions League finalists Juventus did terrifically well to complete their revival and earn a 2-2 draw against Bayern after going two goals down in the reverse fixture, but conceding two away goals could come back to bite the Old Lady as they look for the win in Germany. Juve went into the match having conceded only once in the 11 matches they had played since the start of 2016 - however, they had yet to play a team of Bayern's potency. But after the first leg, Juventus will now know the passion, heart and hard-work they will need to show in order to get the job done against the Germans. 

The Bianconeri had mixed fortunes on the road in the group stage, winning at Manchester City (2-1), drawing at Borussia Monchengladbach (1-1) and losing at Sevilla (0-1). This fixture will take Juve's Mario Mandzukic back to the city where he played for two seasons, while also providing a reunion for Bayern pair Arturo Vidal and Kingsley Coman with their former Bianconeri team-mates. But anyway, Vidal and Coman are the past, and Dybala and Paul Pogba are the future of this incredible Juventus team. The duo has at times carried the Old Lady, dragging Juve over the finish line. Dybala's performances for Juventus this season since moving from Palermo in the summer have been stunning, and the 22-year-old's 17 goals so far only tell half of the story. 

The Argentine possesses blistering pace and skill, has an impressive work-ethic and will to win. Pogba needs no introduction. The young Frenchman is a leader among his talented teammates and has the confidence and ability to marshal any midfield. He is versatile and can play as an attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder as well as a box-to-box player – where he usually thrives. Juventus definitely have the players to go toe-to-toe with Bayern, but the question is do they have the heart, desire and determination? I think so. 

Probable line-ups:

Bayern Munich: 4-1-4-1 
Neuer; Lahm, Alaba, Benatia, Bernat; Vidal; Robben, Costa, Muller, Ribery; Lewandowski 

Juventus: 3-5-2   
Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Pogba, Marchisio, Khedira, Cuadrado; Mandzukic, Dybala 

Betting Verdict: Juventus Win/Draw (33/20)   
Twice champions of Europe, Juventus were runners-up last season and can take confidence in the fact that their record in two-legged ties against German sides is W13 L3. Bayern failed to capitalize on a two-goal advantage in the first leg, and Juventus are tipped to make them pay. But for safe measure, back the Italians on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 33/20.

Written by Aaron Crowie