How can Juventus stop Barcelona in the Champions League final?
Juventus face Barcelona in this year’s showpiece event on June 6th, and Massimiliano Allegri’s side know that victory in Europe’s elite competition will see them earn the coveted Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble. The Italian champions have won Serie A for the past four seasons and their run in this year’s Champions League shows just how far the club have progressed since they were demoted to Serie B in 2006. We take a look at the upcoming fixture and give our thoughts on how Juve can stop Luis Enrique’s juggernaut from earning their fourth Champions League crown in 10 seasons.
Allegri’s side must remain organised and take advantage of set-pieces
In typical Italian style, Juventus must remain focussed on the task at hand and defend astutely throughout the game. The Old Lady executed their plan to perfection against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, despite being widely tipped to lose and the two-time European Cup winners will need to produce a similar effort to stand any chance of beating Barcelona in Berlin.
It is imperative that the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Patrice Evra and Leonardo Bonucci perform well and they can limit Barcelona’s formidable attack to half-chances rather than clear opportunities. Veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is still an excellent stopper and Juventus will rely on him to avoid making any simple mistakes if they are to snatch a shock victory against the La Liga champions.
Their midfielders must play well to stand any chance
Juventus possess one of the greatest midfield quartets in the game and the Italian side will need their big players to perform if they are to earn their third European Cup triumph. Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal will all have a crucial role to play in the destiny of the title, and the Serie A champions will be quietly confident that their players can at least match Barcelona’s quality in the centre of the field.
Their attacking midfielders must ensure that they get forward and support Carlos Tevez whenever they can, but cannot afford to leave their defensive unit exposed on the counter attack. The La Liga champions are arguably the deadliest team in world football on the break, and Juventus’ midfielders must remain calm and composed but also assured in possession. In reality, Barcelona will probably dominate the ball, but the Old Lady mustn’t gift possession back to Luis Enrique’s side too easily.
Carlos Tevez must lead from the front and keep possession
The former Manchester United striker continues to maintain a high work ethic and his dogged style of play will cause problems for Barcelona. Tevez, who has scored 29 goals in 45 appearances this campaign, is one of football’s greatest competitors and the Argentine will cover every blade of grass on the pitch. His tenacious approach and ‘never say die’ attitude are arguably his greatest traits, while his natural finishing ability is also world class.
The 31-year-old will be required to hold possession and earn as many precious seconds with the ball in Barcelona’s half in order to give Juve’s defenders some respite. There will be support from midfield, but the dogged attacker is likely to be deployed as a lone striker throughout the majority of the contest – bar any major injury issues between now and June 6th.
Frustrate the Spanish champions and goad them into challenges
In true Italian style, Juventus should attempt to tempt Barcelona into making silly challenges in the hope that they may begin to pick up cautions. The likes of Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba can be ‘got at’, while Neymar and Luis Suarez can be frustrated – with the latter having an exceptionally short fuse. If the Serie A champions want to get into a slow, narky affair, then they will be able to rattle Luis Enrique’s side and frustration may creep into Barcelona’s play. This may be their best tactic if they are to stand a serious chance of lifting the title and be crowned European champions.