A surging Juventus squad will travel to Catalonia on Tuesday to take on Barcelona in their first UEFA Champions League match of the 2017-18 season.
The two teams are favourites to make it out of Group D, one of the toughest in the competition, with Olympiakos and Sporting CP also present. A good start would go a long way towards qualifying, and the match comes at a great time for the Bianconeri.
Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming clash.
Date: Tuesday, September 12
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona
TV Info: Fox Sports 2 (U.S.)
Juventus have enjoyed a perfect start to the 2017-18 Serie A season and continued their solid form on Saturday, beating Chievo 3-0 at home.
As shared by the Champions League's official Twitter account, Paulo Dybala got on the scoresheet yet again, and his start to the campaign has been sensational:
Come rain or shine: Paulo Dybala scores for Juventus 🌧 ➡️ 7 goals in 4 games this season 💪 #UCL https://t.co/4Qmw9kqZrV2017-9-9 18:26:28
La Joya sank Barcelona last year with a brace in the first leg of their quarter-final meeting, arguably his best outing of the season. He moved back into a midfield role and saw his scoring numbers shrink as a result but seems to have recovered this year.
The Bianconeri have one or two minor health concerns, as Mario Mandzukic left Saturday's contest with a knock and Alex Sandro was sidelined with flu. Juan Cuadrado will also be suspended after his red card in last year's final, but Douglas Costa started against Chievo and is a natural replacement.
Barcelona also enjoyed a productive weekend, as Lionel Messi bagged a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over local rivals Espanyol. ESPN FC's Samuel Marsden was impressed:
Samuel Marsden @samuelmarsden
Lots of positives for Barça. Rakitic, Alba, Messi... even Deulofeu. Potential Semedo/Dembele partnership, Suarez at last taking a chance.2017-9-9 20:48:25
The Catalans did not have a great summer and looked vulnerable in the Spanish Super Cup loss against Real Madrid, but their start to the La Liga season has been good so far―even if they've yet to face a high-profile team.
In many ways, the visit of Juventus is the perfect test to find out just how good his side is for manager Ernesto Valverde. He's unlikely to give Ousmane Dembele or Paulinho a debut and will instead rely on the players who powered the squad last year.
That includes an in-form Messi and Ivan Rakitic, who was everywhere against Espanyol. Luis Suarez was unlucky with his finishing but also showed his form is improving.
Juventus have shown some defensive weaknesses this season―to be expected after the departure of Leonardo Bonucci―and Real cut through the Blaugrana defence like butter. There could be a lot of goals in this match, which would be good news for neutrals.
Prediction: Barcelona 2-2 Juventus