Juventus v Real Madrid preview: Bianconeri eyeing first Champions League final in 12 years
Last Updated: 06/05/15 5:57am
Juventus host Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday looking to reach their first final since 2003.
The Old Lady secured their fourth straight Serie A title at the weekend so will go into the tie full of confidence and are now able to focus solely on their bid for a third Champions League triumph.
Their last victory came when a team containing the likes of Alessandro Del Piero, Fabrizio Ravanelli and Didier Deschamps beat Ajax on penalties in the 1996 final.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid have won the famous trophy on four occasions since then including last year after a 4-1 win over neighbours Atletico Madrid after extra time in the final - and are bidding to become the first team in the Champions League era to retain the trophy.
They required a late winner from Javier Hernandez to reach this stage though. The Mexican’s goal at the Bernabeu was all that separated Real and Atletico after 180 minutes.
It was a similar story for Juve as they beat Monaco 1-0 on aggregate in the last eight. Arturo Vidal’s penalty in the first leg in Turin proved enough to eliminate Arsenal’s conquerors after a goalless draw in the return leg.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side go into the match as strong favourites to reach the final but Bianconeri striker Alvaro Morata, who joined from Real Madrid last summer, is confident that his current club can cause an upset.
"The fact Juventus haven't won the Champions League in a long time doesn't count for anything,” he said. "We're in contention right now and we're totally focused on the job.
"We want to win the title. We're in the semi-finals and we've already shown we're among the four best sides in Europe. Let's hope we make it to the final two."
Juventus are without both Paul Pogba (thigh) and Martin Cáceres (ankle) for the first leg. Pogba has been out for the past two weeks while Cáceres has been sidelined for a month.
Carlo Ancelotti has Gareth Bale available again and the Welshman may be in line to start after making his return from an ankle injury off the bench in Saturday's victory at Sevilla.
Luka Modric (knee) is still out while Karim Benzema is also unlikely to recover in time for the trip to Turin. Marcelo is back having served a one-match ban in the second leg of the quarter-final against Atletico Madrid.
Juventus and Real Madrid have met in six editions of the Champions League (since 1992), with the Old Lady progressing to the final on the only previous occasion they faced the Blancos in the semi-final stage (in 2003).
Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have scored 92 goals for Real Madrid this season in all competitions – two more than the total of those scored by Juventus.
Carlos Tevez has scored as many goals in the Champions League this season (6) as he had in his five previous CL campaigns combined.
Giorgio Chiellini is the player who’s attempted the most passes in this Champions League (755), while Toni Kroos is that who’s completed the most (683).
Real Madrid have been eliminated in their last three European semi-finals against Italian sides (Juventus 2003, Torino 1992 and AC Milan 1989).
Juventus are given a 7/4 chance of making the final, with Real Madrid expected to advance instead (2/5). Indeed, the La Liga outfit are favourites to win on the night at 7/5, with Juve priced up at 21/10 for a win, and the same price for a draw. Cristiano Ronaldo’s odds of scoring in an away win have been boosted to 7/2 with Sky Bet, while his old team-mate Carlos Tevez is 11/2 to score in a home win for the Serie A side. Our pundit Charlie Nicholas believes set-pieces will play a key role in the outcome in Turin, and he’s backed Giorgio Chiellini to score a header for Juventus at 18/1.