Barcelona will be in a familiar zone when the Old Lady come visit the Spanish shores. The Italian Champions will try to do what the French Champions failed to do. The odds are heavily stacked against the Catalans and it will take a great effort to turn things around this time.
Stuttering Catalans need another miracle
Days after the historic comeback against PSG, Lionel Messi's iconic celebration picture decorated the entrance of Nou Camp with the banner reading, "History Happens Here". The Barcelona PR team probably did not have this in mind.
Just after a month, the Catalans will have to make another piece of history if they are to progress to the semifinals. They will be up against Europe's meanest defence, who have conceded only twice in this year’s competition.
Barcelona have been struggling for form, losing two of their last three matches. They won against Real Sociedad but the frailties in their defence were there for the world to see. Enrique will have to sort out his defensive tactics as conceding a goal will put enormous pressure on his side. Messi was the only player to have impressed in Turin and he continued his good form in the weekend, which is a good sign for the Catalans. Neymar will have to be his best and repeat his performance from the historic comeback. Busquets, back from suspension will hold the key in the midfield battle.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 18, 2017
Barcelona have been in rampaging form at home in Champions league so far. If the Spanish Champions could repeat any of those results against Juventus, they will find themselves on the good side of yet another historic day.
The big news will be the return of Busquets to the starting eleven. The midfielder was hugely missed in Turin. Mathieu's selection backfired in first-leg and Mascherano will line up in defence should he recover in time. Roberto, Rakitic and Iniesta will take up the other midfield spots. If Barcelona are to turn this around it will be once again up to their front three to produce brilliance.
Cautious Juventus look to seal Semifinal spot
The Italian Champions are in prime position to get through to the next round courtesy a 3-0 lead from the first leg. Allegri will know that Barcelona have the quality to punish even the slightest complacency. They know they cannot afford to sit back as the Catalans dismantled Emery's side, who followed a similar strategy at the Camp Nou.
Dybala was the star in the first leg as the diminutive Argentinean scored twice to heap misery on Barcelona. Allegri will not ask anything different from his team. They have conceded the lowest amount of goals this season in Europe. Dani Alves has been an excellent addition to the team. The Old Lady are already the Champions League favourites for many neutrals and their performances have warranted the same.
They were able to keep both Neymar and Suarez quite for the entire match in Turin. They will want to close down Messi rather quickly as they let the Argentinean play some stunning passes in the first leg which his teammates could not capitalise on. They recorded yet another impressive away win at the weekend and are well set to wrap up another scudetto with consumate ease.
The signs are good for the Italian Champions and barring any disaster, they will be expected to progress to the next round.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 18, 2017
The biggest news coming out of the Juventus camp is the timely recovery of first leg hero, Dybala. Allegri is expected to go with the same eleven that got the job done in the first leg. Should he need more defensive solidarity, Barzagli will replace one of the forwards however, it is highly unlikely.
Barcelona (3-4-3): Ter Stegen, Pique, Umtiti, Mascherano, Roberto, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Juventus (4-2-3-1): Buffon, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alves, Sandro, Khedira, Pjanic, Cuadrado, Mandzukic, Higuain, Dybala
Player to watch out for
Barcelona were dead and buried against PSG until Neymar decided to take things into his own hands. He single handedly dragged the Catalans into quarters and one such vintage performance is expected of the Brazilian. He will up against fellow Brazilian Dani Alves. The veteran came up trumps in the first leg and Neymar will look to pull one back over his former teammate.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 18, 2017
Will Barcelona create magic or Will the Italian Champions prevail. Watch the action live on Ten Network, on Thursday, 12:15 AM.