Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Real Madrid vs. Juventus

Real Madrid will attempt to make it three wins from three Group B matches when they welcome Italian champions Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

Wins over Galatasaray and Copenhagen have left the Spanish outfit top of their section, but it has been a struggle for Juventus thus far with back-to-back draws against Gala and Copenhagen leaving them with just two points at this stage.

The two sides have met each other 14 times in European competition, with Madrid's home record reading won five and lost two. The pair also clashed in the final of the European Cup in 1998, when a strike from Madrid's Predrag Mijatovic secured their seventh European title.

The last time the two European heavyweights met was in the group stages of the 2008-09 campaign when Juventus won 2-1 in Turin, before Alessandro Del Piero scored twice in a 2-0 win for the Italian outfit at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid, who currently sit third in La Liga, enter the match on the back of a 2-0 win over Malaga in the league on Saturday. However, Juventus, who are third in Serie A, were thumped 4-2 by Fiorentina on Sunday.

Iker Casillas is expected to replace Diego Lopez between the sticks for the home side, while Raphael Varane could also start in central defence. However, the match has come too soon for Xabi Alonso, despite the Spaniard returning to first-team training.

Gareth Bale is also expected to be named on the bench as he continues his recovery from a muscular injury, while Karim Benzema could take the place of Alvaro Morata, who started the league win over Malaga at the weekend.

Juventus have no fresh injury concerns from their defeat to Fiorentina on Sunday. Arturo Vidal will be hopeful of coming into the XI alongside Sebastian Giovinco, with Simone Padoin and Fernando Llorente both dropping out. Meanwhile, striker Fabio Quagliarella is unavailable with a thigh injury.

Recent form

Real Madrid: WLWWW

Juventus: WWDWL

Possible starting lineups

Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Khedira, Modric; Di Maria, Isco, Ronaldo; Benzema

Juventus: Buffon; Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonucci; Marchisio, Pogba, Pirlo, Vidal, Asamoah; Tevez, Giovinco

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