Ex-Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Michael Ballack believes Juventus are in the running to win the Champions League and singles out Paulo Dybala and Aaron Ramsey as ‘exceptional players.’
The former German international spent six years with Die Werkself during two separate stints and spoke with TuttoJuve about the upcoming Champions League match between Juve and Leverkusen.
“Bayer 04 have always been a strong and insidious team,” he told the Italian website, “they want to move the ball, but also to quickly counter with their fast attackers to be able to overturn the run of play.
“If their opponent allows it, they’re able to play with frenzy and intensity. Weaknesses? Their defence and mentality. Often they’re fun to watch, but Leverkusen depends very much on their mood.
Kai Havertz has attracted attention from all of Europe’s big clubs, including Juventus.
“Havertz is currently the most interesting player, he has great quality on the ball, but also great determination in wanting to score at all costs.
“His goals really help the team and his teammates; He’s still young, so its important that he remain in Leverkusen for at least another year. In my opinion, he has the potential to play in every big club in Europe.
Juventus have started brightly but can they be in the mix to win the Champions League this season?
“Certainly, Juventus is in the running to win the Champions League. Last year, Juve were one of my favourites, the team got stronger after the last transfer market window.
“There is experience, great quality and a lot of strength: the champions of’Italy have everything in their hands.
“I think Pjanic is a great footballer, he is really very good on the ball. Players like Matuidi and Khedira guarantee good physicality and presence, so in this squad there is a nice mix.
“Speaking of individuals, (Aaron) Ramsey and (Paulo) Dybala they are two exceptional players.
Former Levekusen midfielder Emre Can has been left out of the Bianconeri’s Champions League squad this season.
“I do not know the circumstances that led to his exclusion in the Champions League, Emre is a really good player. I really think this, because otherwise a club like Juventus would not have done everything to buy him last year.
The Italian championship has changed a lot in the last few seasons and looks more competitive than before.
“I have many Italian friends, so we often watch the Italian championship. I think the league is stronger and more balanced, the competition is better.
“Certainly Juventus, Napoli and Inter can compete to win Serie A, then there are several interesting teams that they can have their say, especially at the international level.”
Ballack was linked to Juventus before his move to Chelsea, but was there any truth to the rumours?
“No, there was never this possibility. It was all rumors, rumors, speculations!”