UEFA Champions League: How Important Was Juve's Victory over Real Madrid?

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IOctober 21, 2008

To say that Juventus needed to beat Real Madrid Tuesday night wouldn't have put you out on a limb at all.

Due to numerous injuries and some questionable decision making by Juve manager Claudio Ranieri, the Bianconeri had been in terrible form. They dropped their last two league matches, recording only two points in the past four Serie A games, and drawing 2-2 with BATE Borisov in their last Champions League outing.

However, led by Captain Alessandro Del Piero and strike partner Amauri, Juve got back on track with an extremely emotional 2-1 victory at Turin's Olympic Stadium.

Del Piero, who scored another wonder-goal in this year's group stage, said himself that this win is "the first step" for the team to get out of their funk.

"I hope this result means a great deal, that it is the first big step and will be followed by many others," said Il Capitano. "It is above all wonderful for the way we got it, as we struggled and fought all the way."

Defender Giorgio Chiellini, who had possibly the best night of any Juve player, said: "We hoped that we could win, but to believe in it is something different entirely. We sought and desired the goals, it was a great test of character,"

The Juve stopper added: "This is a victory that clears many problems. We were in a bad period, but now we have passed it."

So how big is this win?

Well, for one, Ranieri keeps his job. The manager had been rumored to be on his way out if he didn't claim any points against Real on Tuesday night. Now he lives to see another day.

Ahead lies the Turin derby and another crucial Serie A game, this time against Roma, before heading to Madrid for the return leg.

Perhaps the most important thing is that the team gets their confidence back. Whatever they have been saying in the papers to keep things positive, we all know until you prove it on the field, words don't mean anything.

However, not everything seems wonderful in Turin.

There is still that injury crisis to worry about. Now added to the list is midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who has been in fine form the past few weeks, and defender Nicola Legrottaglie, who re-aggravated a muscular problem that had kept him out for the past month.

With Christian Poulsen and Mauro Camoranesi already out injured, Marchisio's injury will be another huge blow. The 22-year-old Turin native had been taking advantage of his recent starting opportunities. Now, whether you like it or not, Ranieri will be forced to tinker with his starting midfield once again.

Fellow youngsters Sebastian Giovinco, who has been playing as a winger so far this season, and 19-year-old Swede Albin Ekdal, may be options for Ranieri in the center of the park to play as an attacking midfielder behind Del Piero and Amauri.

And luckily for Juve, Olof Mellberg also returned from injury Tuesday night. Although he didn't have the best of games after replacing Legrottaglie at the beginning of the second half, Mellberg is an experienced replacement.

So, while nothing is guaranteed in the future, as Del Piero said, it's a step in the right direction.

Juve's confidence and swagger is back and heading into another tough part of the schedule, that is exactly what will be needed.