How Juventus Will Line Up Against Real Madrid

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How Juventus Will Line Up Against Real Madrid
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

It was a bad day at the office for Juventus on Sunday against Fiorentina, even if it started rather well.

The Bianconeri strolled into a two-goal lead thanks to a debatable decision by Nicola Rizzoli to award them a penalty combined with a brain freeze from Juan Cuadrado, who gifted Paul Pogba a goal.

But when Kwadwo Asamoah's clumsy tackle on Mati Fernandez offered the Viola a lifeline, Giuseppe Rossi gladly dispatched the penalty before inspiring one of the greatest comebacks in Serie A history.

A stunned Antonio Conte appeared as if he was about to cry on the sideline, and who could blame him?

Real Madrid await a wounded Juve at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first of back-to-back fixtures in group B of the Champions League.

Given that Juve have failed to win a game thus far, one imagines that they need to pick up two points from these two games at least, in order to wrestle back control from Galatasaray as the side most probable to finish runner-up to Los Merengues.

Stephan Lichtsteiner continues to struggle with injury, and the Swiss is tipped to miss the match with Genoa next weekend, putting him in doubt for the Champions League showdown.

Simone Padoin has been rather underwhelming in the former Lazio right-back's absence, while Mauricio Isla has been equally unimpressive.

Conte may be forced into an experiment on the right side, prompting Pogba to play from the right flank, a role he played briefly as a substitute against Milan two weeks ago.

I believe Conte will attempt to utilise the 20-year-old in this new position to facilitate the return of Arturo Vidal into the side.

El Guerrero was banished to the bench against Fiorentina on Sunday as a result of the Chilean missing a flight back from international duty.

Juve sorely missed their best player, who forced Conte's hand to implement the disciplinary measures, but his return is not certain.

Vidal picked up a knock as a substitute at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, casting doubt as to whether he will be fit for Wednesday's showdown.

Given the magnitude of the fixture, I expect Conte to risk Vidal from the start, completing the original trident of centre-midfielders with Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio.

Asamoah's poor performance against Fiorentina does not appear to have put his place in jeopardy, so the Ghanaian will complete the five-man midfield.

The remaining battle will be who partners Carlos Tevez in attack, with Mirko Vucinic and Fabio Quagliarella continuing to miss out through injury.

Fernando Llorente and Sebastian Giovinco will compete to partner El Apache, with the Spaniard more likely to feature from the start, although it remains a close-run thing.

Gianluigi Buffon's form continues to be put in question, with his handling of Giuseppe Rossi's second goal potentially a mistake.

But the Azzurri No.1 will undoubtedly keep his place behind the immovable trio of centre-backs; Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini.

So it could be a slightly disjointed 3-5-2 with the inclusion of Pogba from the right, but given the quality that they will face, to be able to put as many of his best players on to the pitch will be extremely tempting for Conte.

 

Probable XI: Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Kwadwo Asamoah; Fernando Llorente, Carlos Tevez.

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