Celtic vs. Juventus: Champions League Preview, Team News, Projected Lineups
The Bianconeri are strong favourites to progress to the quarterfinals, but there is no doubt that The Bhoys will not go down without a fight.
Celtic have an 18-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League and therefore rested many of their star players over the weekend in preparation for this match.
The Viola had dominated the Bianconeri at the Artemio Franchi, so Antonio Conte was unable to rest any players, but a 2-0 victory—which maybe even flattered the visitors—was the perfect way to warm up for the Champions League.
Celtic Team News
Neil Lennon has a major concern (per STVSport) over whether Georgios Samaras will be fit and stated that the Greek international will be assessed on game day.
Emilio Izaguirre trained with the squad today and is expected to shake off a knee injury in time to start tomorrow.
Efe Ambrose will return from South Africa, where he enjoyed African Cup of Nations glory with Nigeria, but it is still undecided whether he will recover from Sunday's final and a long flight in time. According to the Daily Record's Mark Guidi, Lennon feels a starting spot for Ambrose is unlikely.
Juventus Team News
Conte will be without long-term absentees Giorgio Chiellini, Nicklas Bendtner and Simone Pepe (per Sport.co.uk).
Paolo De Ceglie will also miss out after a scan revealed a tear in the semitendinosus muscle of his thigh (per the Daily Telegraph).
Mauricio Isla has shaken off the flu and Leonardo Bonucci returns after serving a domestic suspension.
Kwadwo Asamoah should be available for selection after his participation in the African Cup of Nations with Ghana and Mirko Vucinic—who was withdrawn prematurely against Fiorentina—should shake off a knock to start.
Key Battle: Victor Wanyama Vs. Mirko Vucinic
Vucinic was able to drop deep against Fiorentina and influence the play by linking midfield to attack, distributing to the onrushing De Ceglie and Stephan Lichtsteiner as well as looking for Alessandro Matri, who occupied the penalty area.
Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio can also break from deep, so although Vucinic will start as a striker, he can quickly turn into the Bianconeri playmaker. Celtic need to stifle the Montenegrin.
Wanyama will be tasked with pressing Vucinic and not giving him the time and space to hurt Celtic.
Vucinic's clever movement and skill mean that he might still be able to shake off the tough-tackling Kenyan.
Celtic: Fraser Forster, Adam Matthews, Mikael Lustig, Efe Ambrose, Emilio Izaguirre, Scott Brown, Victor Wanyama, Charlie Mulgrew, Giorgios Samaras, Gary Hooper, James Forrest.
Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Martin Caceres, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Kwadwo Asamoah, Mirko Vucinic, Alessandro Matri.
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