Atletico Madrid and Juventus both know what it is like to play at the sharp end of the Champions League, but the two great clubs will open their 2019-20 campaign with a fixture against each other at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday.
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Diego Simeone’s men had started La Liga with a perfect record before returning from the international break to lose 2-0 away to Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Juventus, meanwhile, were knocked off their perch at the top of Serie A for the first time in 552 days at the weekend as they drew away to Fiorentina, leaving them third.
In a repeat of last season’s last-16 clash, edged by Juve 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick after they lost 2-0 in Spain, which club will recover better from their weekend blow?
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
In the UK, the match will be shown on BT Sport ESPN and can be streamed via BT Sport Live.
Squads & Team News
||Atletico Madrid squad
||Gimenez, Arias, Lodi, Savic, Felipe, Hermoso, Trippier
||Koke, Partey, Saul, Lemar, Llorente, Herrera, Vitolo
||Felix, Correa, Costa
Former Juventus forward Alvaro Morata is an injury doubt for Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, with the odds stacked against the hitman from featuring.
Sime Vrsaljko and Borja Garces are both long-term concerns for the hosts.
Possible Atletico Madrid starting XI: Oblak; Trippier, Gimenez, Savic, Lodi; Niguez, Partey, Koke, Lemar; Joao Felix, Costa
||Szczesny, Buffon, Pinsoglio
||Danilo, Bonucci, De Ligt, Alex Sandro, Demiral, Rugani
||Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi, Rabiot, Cuadrado, Ramsey, Bentancur
||Bernardeschi, Higuain, Ronaldo, Dybala
Juventus have a long list of injury problems they will have to contend with ahead of this trip. Matteo De Sciglio, Douglas Costa, Mattia Perin, Marko Pjaca and Giorgio Chiellini are all sidelined.
Danilo and Miralem Pjanic were both replaced at the weekend but have made the travelling squad.Emre Can and Mario Mandzukic have both been left out of Juve’s Champions League squad.
Atletico Madrid are 11/8 favourites with bet365. Juventus are on offer to win the game at 23/10, while a draw is priced at 2/1.
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Atletico Madrid and Juventus are both recent runners-up in the Champions League, and both teams have designs on going one better in the 2019-20 season.
Juve, especially, have been built to mount a strong challenge in Europe’s foremost club competition, with Maurizio Sarri the man anointed to replace Massimiliano Allegri to take the team to the next level.
Having spent the early part of the season in hospital with pneumonia, the former Napoli and Chelsea boss did not get the response he would have wished when he managed to make the dugout for the first time on Saturday, when he watched his side outplayed by Fiorentina in a scoreless draw.
With seven points, Juve trail early Serie A pacesetters Inter by two points. It is first time in 552 days that they do not have at least a share of the lead in Italy’s top flight. As such, the expectation is that Sarri & Co. start the European campaign in a positive fashion.
“We don’t feel this pressure,” the coach assured. “We are Juventus, every time we step on to the pitch, the objective is to win, but we also know full well there are 10-12 other teams who feel the same way and have the same resources as we do.
“Atletico Madrid are one of the teams who can win the Champions League. “Atleti have the players to beat anyone, but unfortunately at this level, you need mental strength, technique, tactics and a bit of luck.”
The Spaniards have been cast as favourites heading into this clash, but Diego Simeone has rejected that tag, doubtless mindful both of his side’s performance as they lost their perfect Primera Division record to Real Sociedad at the weekend and the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo in the ranks of their opponents.
“Football is always football and everything can change. Look at Ajax last season, us in 2014, teams appear that no-one is expecting – anyone can give you problems,” he said.Ronaldo, meanwhile, is not just anyone, as the Argentine admitted.
“It’s difficult to prepare something against a player [like him], he’s an animal in front of goal,” Simone said. “He has an incredible record and in any situation near the box, he’s dangerous. He’s not easy to control, he has it all.”
Goals from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin gave Atleti the victory at home in the last 16 in February, but Ronaldo and Juventus responded in Turin, with the Portuguese bagging a brilliant hat-trick to once again heap misery on a team he has had a happy habit of slaying in the past.
Simeone will hope that both Ronaldo and his team-mates can be tamed as they return to Madrid.