Can Juve’s renowned rearguard resist trigger-happy Monaco?
Juventus will be looking to book their second Champions League final spot in three seasons when they take on Monaco at the semi-final stage of this season’s competition.
The French league leaders were given a welcome boost at the weekend when Paris Saint-Germain lost 3-1 at Nice and they now have a 3 point cushion at the top of the table, as well as a game in hand on the reigning champions.
It’s Monaco’s firepower that has put them in such a strong position. Radamel Falcao has scored 19 league goals, while Kylian Mbappe has chipped in with 14 but the whole squad has contributed and they now have 95 for the season.
However, this isn’t likely to worry the Old Lady too much. The Turin outfit, who are on course for a sixth straight Scudetto, managed to keep out a Barcelona side that has smashed through the 100 La Liga goals barrier for the campaign already in both quarter-final ties.
Juve have been installed as marginal favourites for Wednesday’s 1st leg, as they attempt to book a spot in the showpiece final, which takes place in Cardiff.
In Tuesday’s other semi-final, the two Madrid giants lock horns yet again. Penalty kicks were needed to separate them in last season’s Champions League final, with Real coming out on top, while extra-time was also needed in the 2013/14 final in Lisbon.
Atlético will be hoping that it is third time lucky and it promises to be another tight affair. Both sides warmed up for this one with weekend victories. Real needed a late Marcelo winner to see off Valencia at the Bernabeau after Cristiana Ronaldo had scored before missing a penalty, while Atlético cruised to a 5-0 win at Las Palmas.
Gareth Bale and Pepe are significant absentees for the hosts on Tuesday, something Diego Simeone will be keen to take advantage of, as he plots to eliminate the holders.
We can expect some interesting daily fantasy football slates covering both games – will Juventus put a 1st leg marker down, as they aim to secure a place in the final and which Madrid side is more likely to join them?