Match Review Champions League

Juventus 2-2 Bayern Munich – Just as the Priest was administering the last rites…

February 24, 2016 - 3:49 pm

juventusbayern

Juventus 2-2 Bayern Munich

Scorers: Müller 43 (B), Robben 55 (B), Dybala 63 (J), Sturaro 76 (J)


Champions League – Round of 16 –  Tuesday, 23rd February – 19:45 GMT – Juventus Stadium

I remain in a state of recovery. Still my blood feels alive with war and battle, my body tired yet my spirit a flame, for we witnessed a true marvel when the Germans came to town. Unfortunately I had to head straight the office after the match, from being thrown hither and thither by great tides caused by the contest of Titans, I remained throughout the day, eager to keep the swords clashing desperate to find sparks leading to inferno, with anyone I could find with even a hint of contest in their eyes or tone. Perhaps it was this rabid state of spirit and wildly beating heart which drew towards me a series of mighty bothers? Yet since three of such episodes have passed, I will leave them where they belong, in the past, and move on with renewed hope, in all matters…

No bliss comes without agony, no success comes without suffering. Whilst we suffered immensely, were held down and beaten as clearly the defeated, in our own backyard, the future relentlessly bleak, the stadium awash with inaudible death throes found within the chorus of the Bavarians mourning our demise with chests beaten, heads held high…we met our reckoning, toiled and faltered, were made to appear a galaxy apart from the staggering brilliance of the Bayern machine, and then…when many of us were wondering how embarrassed we could find ourselves when the referee signalled the end of our torment with the world watching, something magical happened…From dejection, dismay, depression, a dying, slowing heartbeat was picked up from the turf by a battle hardened spirit, a lupine howl roared from our ranks, and we rose from the earth, just as the Priest was administering the last rites. Elation crunched horror, Warriors replaced peasants, Celebration and Pride trounced Pity and Regret. If ever there were a game to confirm that lo stile juve has been suitably imbued in our new recruits as remains strident and indomitable in our veterans, it was this one…

Player Ratings

Buffon

Made a spritely save early doors from Vidal’s rocket, was not at fault for either goal, other than which helped the side to ride the storm. 6.5

Bonucci

Big Leo is a cultured brute, able to deal with most issues with his physical dominance, courage and decent positioning. However he has a habit of pushing things a little too far, and can become accustomed to relying on the free-kicks he ‘engineers’ with the opponent often an unwitting participant in his stage play. Had his efforts, on such a course, been performed in the box, he may well have got away with it, but the incident to which I refer, happened near the centre circle, where the ref ponders matters differently. It seems possible the Lewandowski played him at his own game in the build up to the second. After which Big Leo was sturdy. 5.5

Barzagli

Stretched from the start to the finish but refused to break, could well have marshalled the defence better for the second when Muller was found free in the box. It was Andrea who pushed Robben ONTO HIS LEFT for the second? Made to look rather ordinary for much of the game, yet he emerges with his head held hahigh. 6

Lichsteiner

Had his work cut out, yet rose to the occasion, covering, fighting, scrapping. I prefer to see him on the flank as a wingback, yet injuries forced him more central/ full back, where he performed well enough to earn a 6.5.

Evra did his best to shackle Robben…yet the Dutchman has his number…

Evra

Rolled back the years to offer stern resistance against Robben, yet I felt Bayern had been tasked with attacking his lack of pace, and Robben was in fine fettle, the Igor wannabe with dancing feet. His experience was vital, yet it was clear that the Dutchman had his number, leaving Patrice to resort to a few tactical fouls to thwart any more chances for his foe late on. Against as wily a bastard as Robben, experience and nous is often not enough, and I would feel more confident to find Sandro or a match sharp Asamoah lining up in his place in the return. 6.5

Marchisio

Over-run, often in the wrong position, out numbered and often absent in the first half. Perhaps he was injured early doors, hence his substitution during the interval. Not his finest 45 in our colours, when we needed him most, yet I will err on the side of a physical bother as the culprit. 5

Khedira

Invisible throughout. Off the pace. I understand why we played him from the start, such is his pedigree, yet also understand why he was pulled out the fray for Sturaro, for his energy seemed awful. 4

Pogba

Playing in that hybrid CM/LM role, Paul was unable to focus on the central channels where he is at his best. Yet he worked damn hard, set up moves which led to chances and goals and met the enemy on his own terms. Could have done better with an opening on his right boot, as with his header, but clearly our most potent midfielder. 7

Cuadrado

I will agree with my comrade from the guardian commentary section El b, in that the always eager Juan is a good player, and can be a valuable weapon if used correctly. However, ‘good’ is not enough against the very best. ‘good’ is average. And when your main strengths are winning free kicks and pace, you are going to struggle against the classy likes of Munchen. Several times his passing let the team down when a lively counter appeared possible. He earned a few free-kicks, rarely beat his man without keeping his head down and running straight into trouble and offered perhaps a little more than usual defensively. When found in the box on the end of a thrilling move, he shot straight into the hands of Neuer. Still…it was his typically misplaced pass which led to the only obvious error of the opposing defence and our first goal, so some credit is due. Essentially, I do not believe he has enough quality to play at the top level and succeed. 6

The joker in our pack...Big Mario played his part in both Juve goals.

The joker in our pack…Big Mario played his part in both Juve goals.

Mandzukic

The big fella was always going to be rusty, yet he fought like a berserker, helped out immensely in defence and put the chance on a plate for Dybala to strike home. Then played a prominent role in our second. He seemed to get better as the game wore on, and his immense hustle and determination almost led to another chance when ploughing through the high set rear-guard of The Enemy. Will be sharper for the return leg. 7.5

Dybala

Struggled to find space, and seemed perhaps a little overawed, yet given the complete dominance of Bayern, it was no surprise to find his opportunities few and few between. When he finally found one decent chance, he put it away with clinical execution. Wonderful to see him score his first European goal in such an encounter. 7

Morata

His electric pace and ability to turn and accelerate past opponents made a difference. His headed assist created the equaliser. The Spaniard comes alive in European competition, whilst his league form continues to deflate. A lame shot soon after appearing, yet he looked increasingly dangerous as he settled into the rhythm of a match turning in our favour. 7

Hernanes

‘What a strange and terrible move‘ I muttered as I saw the brazilian emerge from the tunnel for the second half, ‘perhaps for Cuadrado…so we go 4-3-1-2…that makes sense…yet where the devil is Il Principino????’…Despite my horror – likely shared by millions – Hernanes proved far more effective than Marchisio. He was eager, battled hard, passed intelligently and diversely and merits praise for his finest performance in our colours since his arrival at the club. He displayed the talents we all know he has, yet have seen so little of, and on this form, I am eager to see him gain more playing time. 7

Sturaro

Whenever I caught glimpses of Khedira, mainly off the ball, I had written and roared ‘GET HIM OFF FOR STURARO, ALLEGRI YOU DANGEROUS FIEND’. It was the most obvious move to improve our midfield I could conjure. And whilst he waited, Il Mister played the Stefano card to perfection, and what a move it proved to be. His appearance added momentum and energy to our resurgence, and he took his goal brilliantly under pressure. I remain of very high hopes indeed for the youngster. 8

Analysis

Irritating, yet unsurprising to find a fair few people suggesting Allegri didn’t do his homework, and Juve made the wrong decision to sit so deep…

No doubt that Allegri told his charges to keep it tight, especially early-doors, but it is plain nonsense to focus more on Juve wittingly inviting that kind of pressure onto them than the more obvious explanation of ‘Bayern were playing brilliantly, powerfully and pushing us back, as they do most teams they play’. They were incredibly impressive in the first half. Only the Barca side of the last few seasons looked (and still look) as insanely capable of applying constant pressure, players swapping positions, superb movement, forcing sides to bring so many players back to mark runners, cover space, try stem the tide, that when they do lose possession, there is nobody to pass to, so they win possession back once again.

It is a clear tactic, an onslaught, over-loading which can be used when you have a squad of such talent as Bayern. Most teams cannot defend against it, hence Bayern’s success, reputation and domestic dominance which is staggering. They are rightly ranked by most fans and pundits and players as one of the two best sides in the world.

To say Juve/Allegri invited that pressure for the first 50 minutes or so is as useful as saying ‘then Pep got his tactics wrong, by inviting Juve to attack more space in greater numbers for the next half hour! Nearly back-fired completely’.

These turns of tides throughout a game are not solely tactical, and sometimes, simply a natural ebb and flow more than strict guide-lines.

Yes yes! The only way to counter that tactic is to push men forward???. I can think of no manager who would do such a thing in the opening 20 minutes or so against Bayern. Other than Barcelona…Arsenal tried to do this against Barca, and got done 0-2. yet we are a far stronger side than Arsenal, mainly mentally. As the recovery against Bayern reminded many.

This lunatic, natural born Centurion, was sorely missed, yet his zeal will be readied for the revenge tie in Munich…

Missing Chiellini and been forced to play Cuadrado was a bother, yet no need to moan or make excuses.

We have players coming back from injury, the confidence that we can shed more bavarian blood in the second tie will be interesting.

Bayern needed to take breath. Once they did we went for the jugular. They made one small mistake defensively, which we pounced upon. We were then their equals, and at times almost their betters.

I’d say they were the best side we have played since, other than Barca last year, we were crunched by their 2013 counterparts.

With that out the way I can concentrate more on the particulars…

This was a game which moved me deeply, nourished my Juve love, for we saw the gulf in class which can transpire when we are not at our best and up against one of only two sides I know are superior in talent and technique and equal in organisation. We were not abysmal in the first 50-60 minutes, we were simply made to appear very ordinary by an extraordinary side. Had we found ourselves 0-4 down at half time I could not have complained. Their dominance could well have been said to deserve such a lead, such was their total control of the game.

Yes yes! We had chances, yet to count them in the first hour against those of Bayern had us wretchedly inferior. However, once the tide turned – and how it turned! – and the recovery hit full stride, we created enough chances to then go on to win the game. We more than rattled one of the finest teams I have ever seen, transformed from seemingly servile acceptance of our minnow showing, to confident, pressing, strong and strident equals.

The recovery could well be the making of this new Juve. For regardless of the result achieved when we head to Munich, to claw our way back in such spirited fashion will have taught those new to the cause a wonderful education, imbued confidence, drive, determination and belief, that we can meet the very best…as equals.

Its strange how a draw rarely feels like a draw. For Bayern, the result likely feels not far removed from a loss – despite their wholesome advantage on away goals forged – for to find themselves hauled back to a balance of the scales, threatened seriously with defeat in a game which will go a fair way to defining Guardiola’s tenure at the club, will have felt odd and horrid, for a team so accustomed to complete dominance against all opponents. Yet for us, whilst the result could well have gone either way in the final reckoning, to realise that these are not superhumans we have no hope of matching let alone beating – but either we are equally superhuman in turn, or they are mere mortals – to have them on the ropes, to end for half hour (or close to it!) our subjugation to their powers, felt fucking amazing…

Hernanes gave a fine showing against the Bavarian Nemesis…

Allegri’s moves from the bench proved absolutely superb, In this measure, he outfoxed Guardiola. Hernanes improved us instantly and thereafter, Morata set up a goal and Sturaro scored.

Much has been said and written of Pep’s legacy in Bavaria. To win the league, especially when Dortmund – their main and only rivals – have faltered terribly last term and remain on the comeback trail, is not enough to rival the work of Heynckes. Only a champion league title can achieve such a status, so we must appreciate that the Spaniard – with the league already all but marked on their storied record – has this one last chance to prove his mettle. Believe me and in common sense, when I assert, that Pep has been focused on this game more than any other this season. He has worked to the best of his abilities to win the tie, to emerge as victors, and maybe they will, yet Europe and the World must appreciate the gargantuan effort and spirit we showed, to earn the draw and keep the tie alive…

Looking at the game as a whole…on chances found, we matched them, and forged perhaps more serious openings than our opponents. Possession does not equate to goals. Total dominance does. Which is why we found ourselves 2 goals down before we managed to finally become Lazarus, or perhaps we simply realised we were losing and been made to look like amateurs in our own backyard, and decided, player by player, that we refused to lose in such a manner.

Its unlikely we will triumph in the return leg, yet we will have Asamoah, Sandro and Chellini back in the ranks. Any victory will be enough to triumph, and if we are the stuff of champions, such a herculean mission will prove within our ken.

We proved that no side can dominate us for 90 minutes. We proved that we can meet one of the two finest sides on the planet, and equal their war cry and powers.

I salute the club, raise my glass of russian fire water to the skies, for dragging me to hell then fighting our way back to heaven.

It is too early to consider the second leg as anything other than…if we win, we march onwards. And for me, whilst not ideal, it is enough.

Outstanding spirit lighting the way in a world of darkness. An amazing adventure, glorious fight, which left me ever more proud to be truly and unerringly, juventino to the core of my essence.

Forza Juve


 Statistics:

foot12Man of the Match: Vote below

foot13  Flop of the Match: N/A

foot14  Corners: 3

foot05  Pass Accuracy: 78%

foot00  Shots on Target: 7

foot07  Total Shots: 11

foot01  Ball Possession: 33%

foot08  Formation:  4-4-2


 Formation:

95bayern


Lineups:

Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Evra; Cuadrado, Khedira (Sturaro 68), Marchisio (Hernanes 46), Pogba; Dybala (Morata 74), Mandzukic

Bayern Munich: Munich: Neuer; Lahm, Kimmich, Alaba, Bernat (Benatia 74); Vidal; Robben, Thiago Alcantara, Müller, Costa (Ribery 84); Lewandowski

Ref: Atkinson (ENG)

juventusbayern


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  • Avatar
    SJ_JUVE February 24, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I forgot how awesome ur writing is TGP. After this game this is the review it deserved.

    I am glad I ain’t the only who feels it wasn’t Allegri’s fault 100% in 1st half, Bayern is just tht good. The changes he made + no team can keep up with this lvl of press for so long especially after Allegri removed the off form cogs of the machine, helped our rise from the ashes.

    I am hoping like you said this is the rise of new juve and they will finally hv the belief in themselves. Strangely I am more confident for 2nd leg than I was for 1st leg yesterday. We might not go thru but we certainly won’t be humiliated like the last time.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet February 25, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Many thanks for the encouragement, comrade SJ, and great to see your words on my screen.

      I believe we will head to Munich a different, stronger, more confident team and it will be Bayern who feel the pressure more than us.

      In terms of how to approach the second leg, I can talk of tactics, focus on the return of Chiellini, the hoped for improvement in fitness and sharpness of many, essentially a raising of standards in all ways, present from the first whistle when we continue from where we left of in Turin…yet presently, I can think of no better anthem to rally the troops than this…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJqPgdJhzQc

  • Avatar
    Sebastián Quiceno February 24, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I could say Mandzukic´s pride, Dybala´s greatness, Morata´s pace and imagination, sturaro´s vividness, Pogba´s Cool and Talent, Gigi´s interventions and captaincy, Hernanes´s technique but I have to say the men of the match were both Allegri with his on point substitutions (With the Marchisio Sub more fate dictated by his fitness) and the team as a whole with a spirit of pride self awareness and above all the grinta that some guy in the standings infused to the DNA of this team(Conte). In the 1st half juve naively bought the bluff game idea bayern pretended to propose of burning themselves practicing a full blown siege throwing everything even the kitchen sink and pretending they would do that for 90 min (which is a bluff, since that is impossible against a pro team like Juve) juve lacked the poker face to take the ball and dictate the tempo since we all know FCB are possession junkies who go nuts without the ball since guardiola will die hard on that idea and sell to their players like the true and only gospel, his holy grail. Yet I know 100% that Max Allegri was the only one not naive to eat that bluff. Since minute 0 and probably days or weeks ago when FCB has been countered with pressing in bundesliga Allegri knew and was convinced this Juve could play like last year UCL finalist and thrash FCB if the players believed in themselves and actually followed the game plan (which was what we saw in 2nd half, no wonder, Allegri the only adult at home -with maybe one or a few other players, most likely Gigi who knows and has seen Juve in its true 1990s and 2000s greatness- must have shaken and reprimanded the squad at half time) At that point everyone was reminded of the Juve we already are which is a better quality squad, far more mature in football terms both in Italy and Europe (though equal or less mature in mentality) a Juve at halfway point between 2003s Juve that lost 0-4 agg and the 90s and 00s Juve which is its true potential and the grinta came back, players decidedly stopped acting like sacrificial lambs and came back to themselves not only coming back from a 0-2 disdvantage against an overheated FCB machine, but even to the point where they were alarmed of the chance of losing to Juve going to Allianz at disadvantage. I respect this blog author´s call to arms feeling and true Juventino war spirit (since I admire his analysis, and welcome ) but i didn´t feel any of that and I think Max Allegri also didn´t, I think most of all he was disappointed of his players mentality in 1st half but confident on Juve´s Grinta, the players return to their senses, and the squad potential for the 2nd leg (both FCB goals were on the right, I am sure if Chiello was there would have had a clean sheet 2-0 win, 4 man defence is shaky, 3 man def is rock solid, the next tie at Allianz they´ll face Chiellini on the right, +lich or cuadrado will shine better with 3-5-2, +Pogba will perform better more centered) i am all for 3-5-2 unless il mister has a better plan in mind which I am sure he does. When he came to Juve I was skeptical, I didn´t knew that guy at all nor did I have any deference to him or even trust him (Milanista spy LOL) since he was holding Milan´s banner, but since last year I have come to respect him and admire him, MAX ALLEGRI IS A VERY VERY SMART GUY, and he knows Guardiola very well like a true apprentice, even capable of beating his master (which I think he yesterday did with game changing subs unlike pep), At this point I feel no war or survival high but rather like Allegri I felt kind of disappointed , because same thing happened against Barca (that UCL was within our grasp), same thing again with FCB No Chiellini →Tactical shift to 4 man def → lack of defence confidence → Disorientation→Fear→Defeat, or draw with away goals handed to opposition in this case. So now war high for me I just want to have the players in front of me and shake them hard, let them realize they point in which Juve are in its growth process, make em know what they are capable of, we managed to put Barca on danger and could have beat them, Bayern is no different, their weak spots are more evident, I mean just take hold of that freaking ball (la palla e nostra) and play direct, its not quantum physics. I won´t blame them 100% though, I understand it was a first encounter with FCB for many and some need to meet their enemy before they know him, ¡TO BETTER KILL HIM! LOL I just hope they need only a first game and not a tie, That is why i am confident that my man of the match was Allegri, because being coach he sure can make them realize how far we have come since Conte days which I am sure was glad to have seen his child having grown up since his days, because like i have heard of Allegri, and like this blog´s author and myself, Antonio is a true juventino. Grazie Antonio, Grazie Max, Grazie Cristo Dio.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet February 25, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Sebastian you wondrous fiend! Where the devil have you emerged from??? Such flowing, descriptive, welcome words which I must implore you to share more often in our blossoming tribe here at Juvefc.

      I am of similar thinking in regards to both Chiellini and the maturity. The latter may have been nourished into the next stage of development through the dicing with Hades then recovery, hauling ourselves well away from the banks of the River Styx to live to fight another battle, this time – as you put it so splendidly – knowing the enemy on intimate terms.

      The former is a more simple addition to our phalanx sent to Bavaria to bloody the foul, accursed earth. When facing an opponent which we must all agree are composed of quite significant advantage from a technical and possibly – but to a lesser degree – mental perspective, it is imperative to balance the scales with spirit, determination, belief and heart. All of which King Giorgio, a natural born centurion, has in spades. He is also a rather robust, always uncompromising physical foe to deal with, often leaving his opponents all too quickly lacking eagerness to throw themselves into any 50/50 tackles, which helps our cause immensely. He will provide a brutal wall, a secondary, formidable blockade against Robben and any others attempting to carve in-roads down our left flank. As well as through the middle.

      I was taken aback by the lack of grinta. We missed King Giorgio far more than I had hoped. Yet the joy to behold is that he will return.

      Also what was apparent, which I have not pondered for a while, was the lack of natural leaders. Players who refuse to bow their heads under any circumstance. Mandzukic emerged as one these ferocious spirits, who when the backs are against the walls, come out slashing, head-butting, maiming, ever more eager to fight until his last drop of blood has been spilled and lost.

      Finally, we missed Pirlo. A player capable of putting his foot on the ball and dictating the pace of the game. Whatever the malaise of muscle suffered by Il Principino, he was a lost soul, as was Khedira. Neither appeared fit, or in any way involved. To have 2 of our 3 central midfielders in dire form was one of the major reasons I neglected to mention last night when writing my report responsible for the onslaught and siege which dominated us…until both players had been replaced. With energy, determination and bite restored to the midfield, the game changed immeasurably. I suppose I was writing much like a witness affected by a bomb blast, able to recall what I had seen, yet not what I heard as my ears were still ringing with the explosions and screams…

      Marchisio is an immensely superior player than the ghost who appeared in his place in this fixture, as is Khedira. Yet neither are Pirlo, of the two, I would say Khedira is more capable of altering the tempo of a game, yet only when he is match fit and match sharp; at least when facing elite competition.

      And so…I believe we can look forward to our visit to Munich, with a sly grin rooted in the knowledge that we have their number. With Chiellini fit and firing on all cylinders, Marchisio , Khedira, Mandzukic all far sharper, Alex Sandro and Asamoah to call upon with confidence, the future looks far less bleak than many would conclude from peeking solely at the away goals conceded and staggeringly potent home record of our foes…

      Sincerely, comrade Sebastian, I hope to learn more of you as much as find further loosening of your wondrous words flowing onto this page and many others thereafter. Welcome to the community. TGP

      • Avatar
        Sebastián Quiceno February 26, 2016 at 10:05 pm

        Salute to TGP and the Juve FC community. A note from me I Love Juve and Gli Azzurri since the 90´s. I was born in Colombia (though I am a world citizen) and love Italy from afar.

        First of all Thank you TGP for your reply, but above all for the site, I almost never comment on generic forums but this is one of only 2 Juve web pages i follow for comment and analysis (besides mass generic media, though it is often laughable). I come here because it is very timely, informational, knowledgeable and tactically detailed, really well executed, and from juventinos to juventinos.

        About the post I was not war high but was tense since it was a huge game and needed a place to speak my heart out even without editing, so I really thank you for this web space. Thanks also to whoever reads any of it.

        I just wanted to thank TGP and the page community I was not planning on talking Juve but i rather do it early.

        About the 2nd leg odds I feel very confident, why? I remember last year that after the galatasaray snow fiasco Juve was a round of 16 squad for most, no one bet Juve would beat Klopp´s Dortmund even near relegation, let alone Ancelotti´s Madrid `la decima´ UCL title holder, a fottballing machine, and L. Enrique´s Guardiola record breaking Barca not even a contest (For most Juve was a good sparring partner, nothing more, only a few thought, hey! its football anything can happen).

        Still Juve managed to go from round of 16 to the final and come close to win it after leveling 1-1 and endangering Barca. This was Agnelli and Co.´s longer term objective, even they I think were surprised to see results so soon, why, because all have done a very thorough and conscious good job) but why go that far that soon? we already had Gigi and BBC def ages ago, we already had Marchisio, Vidal, Pirlo, Pogba and Tevez/Llorente in 2014 and went out of UCL to UEL, why would this squad reach the UCL final? still we did it. Conte´s seed blossomed and Allegri´s own seed did too really freaking fast.

        Conte´s Juve thrived if they dominated, struggled if they didn´t, Allegri´s Juve is a top squad if they dominate, but gains even more edge when truly defied, we saw that against Dortmund (With Marco Reus goal a gift of God, impossible without bonucci´s slip), Madrid, in berlin, and on Tuesday. Juve is a more mature squad, though they forgot it Tuesday´s 1st half. February/March 2016 Juve has been defied, like TGP said, bavarian blood has been spilled. 2015/16 Juve´s frame can endure coming from disadvantage not only in game but on a title final (though it wasn´t to be in Berlin) or a tie. I am not saying Juve beat FCB already, the job has to eb done first, but I am convinced we can do it.

        FCB can do no more than attack, attack, attack, they won´t sit back. Juve just needs to 352 pretend to stay back but not stay back, stay back when they have clear possession (let em come), press high when they have compromised/dirty possession. Stay back and counter-fast-long-direct attack sometimes, press high, recover possession high attack fast at other times. Play a game like against Dortmund, and be super pysical and aggresive at all times, bite bite bite, push, tackle foul, play true italian style, germans hate it, have defence be a fortress, explode in attack fast, simple, with talent and conviction, that´s the best Juve,

        Most people would be in awe, or at least surprised to read this, since everyone thinks FCB are unbeatable at home, Ancelotti´s Madrid thrashed´em at Allianz, but 2015´s Juve beat “la decima´s Madrid” and while that juve was a better oiled machine this year´s Juve is a better quality squad, with a much better attack (and above all with much more long term growth potential) and with some true and proven champions (Gigi, Barzagli, Chiello, Mandzukic, and Pogba and specially Dybala on that path, and I hope the whole squad prove to be champions too) because its not top players, is champions which are needed to win at Allianza and anywhere else.

        So plain and simple media shapes and idea, so called pundits echo it and the mass raw eat it so the thinking goes: in Europe plain and simple Juve is just not good enough so with FCB its practically a done deal Juve out. Juve like Italy is a dark horse by defintion so the thing I wish the most is from now on Juve PLAY THE ITALIAN WAY, because last year Berlin final showed Juve are kind of Europized and in order to win again 1,2,3 UCLs in a row Juve need to find that identity again.

        One fact for the 2nd leg. Juve have never gone out of UCl when having drawn at home on the 1st leg.

        FINO ALLA FINE! FORZA JUVE!

        Thanks again TGP and the Juve community for a great Juve web page… and for the cool knight style poetry.

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet February 28, 2016 at 9:36 am

          Many thanks for the response, Seb! And whilst I am appreciative of the praise, only some of it is deserved, for my own role in the community is solely as contributor writer, for the man who provides the site, works diligently – whether in or out the shadows – to keep the articles coming, keep the platform in place and up to date with current affairs, is the Chief. Yet another Englishman supporting an italian club! Indeed, it is Rav who created and maintains the foundation of the community, supplies news in between the major articles, perfectly sets up the format for contributors to place their reports and analyses with ease, whilst he then goes onto focus on the mechanics of running and promoting the community. At best, I am a vodka drenched deputy, yet always grateful for the Chief affording me a platform to share my words and over these last few months, I have found such joy in rubbing virtual shoulders with one and all who frequent the site.

          There is a good feeling here, respectful kinship even when views are clearly opposed. That ambience begins with Rav then is nourished by us all, whether through loosening our fingertips of novella length tirades of triumph or despair, or offering a few lines of contention.

          I agree that the present squad has more potential than last season. It is an interesting discussion to ponder what would have become of Dybala had Tevez stayed? For he would have perhaps learned more, perhaps found assimilation into our club culture and ranks more comfortable, yet without any doubt whatsoever he would have had less playing time. I assume he is friendly with Pereyra, and Sandro and Caceres likely bridge the communication divide with ease. Yet many of the Argies are closer to Italian by blood than to any other bloodline…and he already knows the country from his time with Palermo.

          The match in Munich is indeed, all about grit and fight and belief. I am glad that someone else before me intimated the need for a nastier element to be driven through our foes. It is one of the only areas we are lacking, alongside natural born leaders.

          Chiellini, Barzagli, Mandzukic and Evra appear of the latter ilk, in varying ways. Players whose drive and determination does not lessen when we are facing adversity, if anything they thrive in such battles.

          Buffon is well respected, yet how much can a goalkeeper effect those outfield during a game? (Schmeichel and Khan aside!). Marchisio is often superb technically, yet he is not at all a naturally vocal player who displays immense tenacity and roars like a lion.

          Lichsteiner has the drive yet also the petulance.

          I was so very pleased to witness Big Mario growing in physicality and rage. That kind of play instills fear in the opponents.

          Yet we do not have any particularly nasty players. There is no Montero, nor Camoranesi, nor Davids. These players were often vicious! And whilst the refs were aware of this, as were our enemies, nonetheless, their mere presence leaned towards others pulling out of tackles rather than facing their zeal up close and personal.

          Keep the words flowing, comrade and I will eagerly anticipate our next opportunity to collide on this screen.

          Cheers,

          TGP

    • Avatar
      BelgianJuventino February 26, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Nice read! Thanks for the massive headache though, this wall of text was a hard read xD

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    Giancarlo February 24, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Thanks.
    Fitting style for a great review, for a well deserved draw that feels like a win. Would it be pushing it to wish that in Munich, we will have a win that feels like a draw?

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet February 25, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Grazie, Signore!…I am glad you enjoyed the piece strung together over a glass of russian firewater or five last night in the darkness here in my garden.

      Any win achieved in Munich will feel like one of the most important victories of our recent history and establish us as truly and deservedly back amongst the elite.

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    Rocke Linez February 25, 2016 at 3:54 am

    This entry almost feels like a dairy note of a wounded knight. I don’t know what to say as I couldn’t be possibly adding anything, but I agree with almost everything, except the small russian part, but eh… you know me Mr. Poet.

    I’m also glad you’re not one of those who are keen to pick on Allegri, yes he’s not an infallible prophet but for certain he’s also not a fool, he has his shortcomings but he’s also very capable of learning from them.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet February 25, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Linez, old pal! Many thanks indeed for the praise…I especially enjoyed the diary of a wounded knight, which brought childish glee to my heart. Indeed we differ on the Russian story, yet I respect your view, my friend, for it is one of delving into the darkness and finding something different, far removed from the moronic majority routine of repeating solely the headlines they are bombarded with by a multitude of ‘sources’ all working for the same devil-rats.

      Yes yes! I would go as far as to suggest I value Allegri more than any manager since Lippi. I was dubious when he first appeared, though chose to focus on the lively and encouraging positives of his career beforehand, of which there were a fair few and to not just win the title, and the coppa italia but take us to the champions league final in his first season was a tremendous achievement. He has had an ongoing injury nightmare to deal with this season alongside the loss of three incredible players.

      He also comports himself in a far superior and more dignified manner than not just Conte, but other coaches at rival clubs. Whilst some seem to perceive his behaviour as perhaps weak, reserved, too humble, I see him increasingly as an astute character who is both careful and possibly even cunning with his dealings with the media.

      I believe he has done, and continues to perform, a sterling job.

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    ho Hi February 25, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    So I love Juve. And I loved the comeback on tuesday. But…. the first 60 minutes Juve was nothing. Just to shy and frightened.

    If Juve should start like this on the 16th march….its done. Bayern will kill us.
    With 3 or 4 goals.
    You should not let them play.
    Morata in Dybala out.
    Sturaro in Khedira out.
    Sandro in Evra out.

    Push them back from minute 1.
    Otherwise it will be a desaster.

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      BelgianJuventino February 26, 2016 at 9:42 am

      With another willful performance, we stand a chance! Odds are against us, but we have been served a great reminder why our motto is Fino alla fine!

      Sandro yes, Sturaro yes, Morata yes. But don’t take out Paulo!

      We can’t rush anything against Bayern in their home, we will have to take it slow, even though time is against us in that game.

      Bayern can play against a parked bus to great effect, but against a team that takes the battle to them, they only play even better.

      We will have to be patient and strike at the right time. Bayern know we need a goal and they will be ready to pounce on any gaps in our defense. We must not let them do that.

      Tricky to do, but if any team can hold the line and still score 1 goal, it’s Juve!!

      • Avatar
        ho Hi February 27, 2016 at 7:00 am

        But Mandzu has to play.
        He is the ultimate mastermind.
        Hes one of a kind.
        M and M.
        Dybala is too young to play cl.

        • Avatar
          BelgianJuventino February 27, 2016 at 10:39 am

          I dont agree Dybala is too young. He scored against Bayern and bundeling so rallied the team to fight back.

          Its going to be Dybala and Mandzukic, barring injuries ofcourse

          • Avatar
            ho Hi February 27, 2016 at 11:53 am

            Morata wouldve scored too .
            He just have more experience.
            Of course Dybala is great, but Morata is the cl player.

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet February 27, 2016 at 12:04 pm

          There is a point to your point, but its experience, more than age, yet they are obviously intertwined.

          Whilst Dybala hasn’t achieved as much at the top level in comparison to Morata, he has not been given the chances and… the Argie whizzkid had ONE chance against Bayern, and he took it superbly. Given he has been doing the same in the league, whereas Morata has not, the scales remain slanted in Dybala’s favour.

          Last season, Morata was blossoming and yet, he lost something, maybe in heart, then niggling injuries. Dybala has been tentative, then quality, then consistently amazing, likely to blossom into one of the greatest.

          There is something else…An inkling of what playing for Juve means to the respective players.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet February 26, 2016 at 11:23 am

      I have known Khedira and Marchisio long enough to balk at the suggestion of replacing them both, on the basis of one game, in which Khedira was clearly not match sharp and the italian was suffering in some way physically. They have 3 weeks to gain fitness and sharpness. Whilst Il Principino may need a break, Big Sami needs to play as much as possible. It was the Germans worst showing in our colours and Marchisio’s worst offering this season. Such awful lightning wont strike twice.

      Sandro has not yet proven himself defensively capable other than when Chiellini is present. He has however, proven himself potent in the offensive phase of the game, pretty much every time he has played. Whilst Evra is long in the fang, he is exceptionally intelligent when it comes to positioning, tackling, covering and tactical fouls. He is more dependable, but given we need to win the game, I would go with Sandro. More likely to leave us open at the back, yet with Chiellini returning, and Sandro’s massively greater pace and offensive zeal, its a risk we simply must take.

      Morata is a different kettle of fish…what a strange saying, the background of which, I must research…no dice there…so let’s move on.

      Dybala has been immense, and he scored a great goal with his only real chance of the game. He also put a chance on a plate for Mandzukic. The Croatian menace clearly enjoys playing against his old paymasters. He crafted Dybala’s goal, and played a prominent role in the second; both displayed swift intelligence in tight situations. And this was his first game for a few weeks…Added to such pondering, is the still apparent absence of shooting boots for the Spaniard.

      • Avatar
        ho Hi February 27, 2016 at 7:05 am

        Post from the poet.
        Khedira is good enough for games against Inter or Roma. But on a higher level I really have my doubts on him.
        Sturaro is something so highly talented. Give him more and more games and Khedira can leave us.

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet February 27, 2016 at 10:39 am

          When fit and match sharp, I would always choose Big Sami over Sturaro. There are reasons why we have yet to lose when he starts…

          I put that last showing down to nothing related to a lack of ability, everything to do with a lack of fitness. The signing remains in the balance in terms of value. His fitness has been awful, yet when he has played, other than against the Germans, he has been intelligent and potent. We are yet to lose a game in which he starts.

          Sturaro is a player I like very much, yet I doubt we will see him anywhere near a regular starting berth, unless Khedira is out for a while. Still…with Berardi to come, as well as Mandragora, and Rugani…I suspect he will come to be a powerhouse for our midfield in future years as he is clearly talented. Tenacity of Gattusso, yet able to find brilliant avenues much higher up the field!

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    B1anconer0 February 25, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    I don’t comment a lot on this site but I just have to say that this review was spot on, again. So thanks for the great read!

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet February 26, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Cheers Mr B…what are your thoughts on the return leg???

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet February 26, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Greetings and welcome Dar Black…From where do you hail in my motherland? I am kentish lad at heart though spent a few years in Manchester before making Brighton my second home, and then ending up marooned here in Melbourne 7 years ago due to amorous misadventure. I also have an English team, my beloved Gills! Whose trials and tribulations I keep daily abreast off, yet is it Juve which has owned the larger part of my passions for the game since the early 90s.

    A old friend was a Forest supporter, I remember seeing them play at Arsenal by his side. It may have ben Glen Helder’s debut for the Gunners…

    Glad of course to learn of more satisfaction from my wordsmithery and must encourage you to post more often, for this community seems to be in a brilliantly fertile state, blossoming by the month. A thoroughly decent crowd are often in attendance, all knitted together by the sterling work of the Chief, whom it is a pleasure to write for as much as the community.

    Who have been your favourite players over the years?

    How do you see us faring in the league and in the return against Munchen?

    Welcome aboard, comrade!

    TGP

    • Avatar
      Dar Black February 26, 2016 at 6:11 pm

      Hi TGP. I am from tiny Rutland county originally before it was swallowed up by Leicestershire (and then spat back out again a few years back to become an independent county again). House prices are insane in Rutland, so I set up home in sunny Lincolnshire, where I think I will stay for ever. I do love London, and visit there quite a lot for trips and music concerts, but it’s too crazy and expensive to live there. Always nice to come back home to the fens.

      Times is hard for Forest fans, as they have been since EPL relagation in 94 I think it was. Wow, is it that long ago the glory days! I had high hopes for the reign of Billy Davies (both of his stints as manager), but it was not to be. No sign of things changing. Part of me really wants Leicester to win the premier league title this year to make a change, but of course as Forest and Leicester fans hate each other part of me really does not want them to have a moment of triumph to rival what we had with Cloughie at the helm. I tell my footie loving friends when they tease me about the European cup triumphs being so long ago that I don’t benchmark the time since those days by normal times, more so the benchmark is beginning of life on earth – in which case the Forest glory days are just a blink of an eys in the past hehe…

      Favourite Juve players – has to be the quartet of Robbie Baggio, Vialli, Del Piero and Ravanelli. I think I saw all 4 of them play during the 94 Foggia game (Baggio scored and I think it was Fab Rav). And they say the Barca frontline trio is awesome…. not more so than we had back then. I was also very fond of the Nicola Amoruso and Christian Vieri pairing – they were awesome too, and had enourmoust potential. Why oh why did Juve break that pairing up…… Glory days of 4 – 1 vs Ajax, 1 – 6 v PSG, 1 – 6 vs AC Milan.. What a team that was. See us winning Seria A, and having a chance against Bayern so long as we are brave and not scared. I have some thoughts on the ‘status’ of Juve and the fear it generates in our players when we play the top 3 sides in Europe, but I’ll hold fire on that for now. I’ve rambled enough 🙂

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    BelgianJuventino February 26, 2016 at 9:34 am

    You are truly a talented writer TGP. Just by reading this I can feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins, thinking about the return leg.

    If there ever was a demonstration of lo stile juve, this was it. A beaten, demoralised, overrun side changed the odds and nearly managed to seize a win at the end. We’re still in the running to do it, even though the odds remain firmly against us.

    I was just wondering why Leo was granted a lower score than Evra and Cuadrado. Surely Bonucci deserves more than that?

    He made at least 2 crucial saves, blocking a tap-in goal (I have no idea how Muller didn’t score that) and was doing well throughout the game.

    Both Evra and Cuadrado were out of depth, especially Cuadrado. Whenever he created something (or was involved in a potential scoring situation) he blew it.

    In my eyes, Bonucci performed better than these two.

    Flop was definitely Khedira, I don’t think anyone doubts that much. He still has to win me over as a player. He’s either injured or thrown in right after his recovery in too important games. Hope he can get fit and discover his form, he’s often found wanting so far.

    I was very happy to see Morata have such a big impact, and the same goes for Sturaro of course. What a goal! Hernanes must have scared us all to death, but credit is due, he played excellent

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet February 26, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Wicked words as is always the case, comrade!

      When I make my ratings I take into account not just the levels previously set, but also the battles they faced.

      Bayern were brutal on the flanks. I believe that Evra did okay, as did Lichsteiner, bearing in mind they both had players nearby who were much more eager to attack than support them, even when they were facing a runner with the ball and a runner finding space.

      I expect better of Bonucci and believe he was very much at fault for the second goal, as he went down far too easily, when horribly out of position, then had no chance of getting back to defend what turned out to be the second goal. I am a big admirer of Big Leo. And do not believe the praise Guardiola adorned upon him after the game was sincere. In fact, I feel it was a tongue in cheek insult.

      So…Bonucci, for me, was more directly at fault for a goal than any others, for had he been better positioned, not thrown himself to the floor expecting a free kick, he would have been able to thwart the second goal. Other than which he was fine…Evra had Pogba to assist, yet given the regrettable lethargy of Khedira and Marchisio, the frenchman was our only midfielder capable of ploughing through the middle, which left his defensive support lacking. It wasn’t until quite late on in the game, when I felt Robben knew he had the better of the Patrice, who resorted to hacking him down.

      On the other flank, Lichsteiner had Cuadrado and a ghost of Khedira for assistance, was over-run, and I felt positioned himself admirably, as best as possible, when faced, all too often with two players, if not more, to consider when tackling and covering.

      The biggest problem for this one was the close to complete absence of 2 of 3 central midfielders against one of the best sides in the world. This is why we were held back. My notes of the first half mention Marchisio and Khedira only with gutter talk of ‘they are not present, get them off…NOW NOW FUCKING NOW’…

      I am unsurprised, yet nonetheless glad, that you feel the same of the Colombian’s performance, for what works well against Chievo and Palermo, is shown as weak, lame and consistently woeful against Bayern Munich. I hugely hope that for the return leg we have Lichsteiner on the right flank of a 3-5-2.

      The Morata question is far more tricky…

      He comes alive in Europe, assisted a goal, his pace, especially on the turn, is phenomenal, yet his shooting boots remain absent. Given my preference for a 3-5-2 (to avoid Cuadrado) and Mandzukic displaying immense determination and playing a part in both goals, I cannot see Morata displacing Dybala or the big man.

      Hernanes was solid and changed the game, especially so when Sturaro appeared.

      • Avatar
        BelgianJuventino February 27, 2016 at 7:24 am

        Now I have a better understanding of how you rate a performance and looking at it that way, it is a just score.

        Cuadrado should be used to break games open against midtable and low tier teams, an elite team like Bayern just runs him down.

        I also expect Dybala-Mandzukic up front again, which isnt bad either of course. Maybe later in the game we could switch to a trident up top with Morata coming in?

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet February 27, 2016 at 10:32 am

          Indeed, my friend, perhaps I should make more clear my scoring routine!

          Fully agreed on Cuadrado. He is ill-equiped to mount any meaningful value against a side like Bayern, if he starts. Yet could well prove a bother if deployed later on. Other than which, best to leave him for the lower ranked teams if we are talking of a starting berth.

          Can’t see past the Dybala/Mandzukic tandem, especially as it fits with the 3-5-2 and probably finest defence on the planet.

          • Avatar
            BelgianJuventino February 27, 2016 at 10:44 am

            Haha, personally I just rate the performance as I saw it, I dont bring expectations into account.

            Each his way eh, but without knowledge of your style of rating, it seemed odd to rate Bonucci worse.

            I am also pretty sure they will be the striker duo, but in case we desperately need goals, why not go all out and use 3 strikers or drop Dybala to a treq/cam role?

            Heck, if we could win by scoring one goal in the last ten mins, I’d go as far as throw in anyone who can score! 4-4-2, 4strikers, mids and just 2 defenders to bomb anything back forward!

            Only in times of dire need of course, its a fantasy idea. Would be epic to see it pull off a win though!

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet February 27, 2016 at 11:31 am

            My friend, send word to thegutterpoet@live.com to discuss your prospective contribution to the community as a stand-alone piece! The Chief has given the go ahead…

          • Avatar
            BelgianJuventino February 27, 2016 at 11:37 am

            You have no idea how much the idea of writing excites me!

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino February 26, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Welcome to the site! Jealous of your stats, being around so long! I have never managed to see Juve play in person 🙁

    But I have my age against me here, I became a Juvefan in the early 2000’s, being a 90’s kid.

    • Avatar
      Dar Black February 26, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      You have plenty of time them to see them. My stats are not so good when you think it’s just once a decade! But Turin is a long way for me. First trip there was on a Eurolines coach from Victoria Station in London. Never ever again!! Over 20 hours on a bus (albeit a plush one) is too much for any mans rear end to take. Mind you, the views out from the window from Lyon onwards make up for it. Can there be a more stunning setting for a football team to play in than the alps? I don’t think so. Who on earth would want to trade that view for grim rainy old Manchester.

      • Avatar
        BelgianJuventino February 27, 2016 at 7:28 am

        Still better than mine! I hope to see them in person one day. If they ever come to my country for CL (or EL) I will go and see that match, thats for sure.

        Besides that, Turin is also rather far away for me. I’ve been close to Turin once, but couldnt go to the city, unfortunately.

        I wont go by such a bus though, I can guarantee you that, haha!

        Manchester indeed doesnt look exactly like the most attractive city to be, but rainy weather is all too common here in Belgium too