Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Juve players celebrate Fernando Llorente's 22nd minute equalizer against Real Madrid.
Goals: Points against Madrid, win final two matches
Juventus was in a similarly desperate situation at the halfway mark of the group stage in last year's competition. Three draws had left them in a bad situation, but dominating victories at home against Nordsjaelland and Chelsea and a squeaker in the impressive Donbass Arena gave the team the top spot in the group.
They were, of course, helped along by an epic Chelsea collapse that they probably won't have the benefit of from Real Madrid. There is, however, a clear blueprint to their participation in the knockout stages for a second consecutive year.
First, they must avoid defeat against Madrid in two weeks at the Juventus Stadium.
The chances of that happening seem to be fairly good. The team's palatial ground is one of the most difficult places in Europe to play, and Juve seemed up to the challenge against Madrid in the Bernabeu.
They sustained attacking play for long stretches even after Giorgio Chiellini was sent off with a harsh straight red card early in the second half. Iker Casillas had his palms stung multiple times, and Fernando Llorente's equalizer was a pretty piece of poaching—the reason he was brought into the squad in the first place.
Not having Chiellini will be a problem, especially if Antonio Conte wants to replicate the surprising 4-3-1-2 formation he employed in Spain. Leonardo Bonucci, who went on as a sub after the Italians went down a man, is much better in a three-man line than he is in a four-man line. That said, his passing from the back could be a key factor.
Juve must get at least a draw against Real to stand a realistic chance.
They then welcome Copenhagen to Turin, a team they dominated at Parken Stadium in Denmark but were unable to find their finishing touch against.
A win in that match is essential.
Assuming that Juve draws against Real in two weeks, Galatasary beats Copenhagen and Real takes out Galatasaray for a second time in then next round—not unrealistic assumptions—that would put Juve one point back of Gala with all to play for in Turkey. A win there squeaks Juve through as runners up.
Of course, things could go more favorably. Gala could drop points in Denmark and Juve could beat Real, putting Juve ahead of the Turkish squad and then in control of their own destiny. But the above scenario is probably the former scenario is probably the most likely.