When they faced off two weeks ago in Matchday 3 of Champions League play at the Santiago Bernabeu, Juventus was in the midst of a mini-crisis given that their defensive play and form had dipped while Real Madrid were facing a few questions.
In the course of two weeks as Juventus welcomes Real Madrid to Turin for the reverse fixture on Matchday 4, they find themselves in a position where they must beat Real Madrid in order to maintain aspirations of advancing.
As things now stand in Group B, Real Madrid are atop of the group with nine points from the first three games, while Galatasaray are second with four points and Juventus are third with two points. Needless to say, the game on Tuesday is a do-or-die one for a Juventus team who has aspirations of a deep run in the competition and bettering their quarterfinal appearance from 2012-13. Unlike two weeks ago, Juventus come in without having to deal with a mini-crisis while Real Madrid head into Tuesday’s game dealing with several uncertainties.
Since losing to Real Madrid 2-1 two weeks ago, Juventus have played three league games and aside from winning each of those three games, Juventus have kept a clean sheet in each of those games by winning 2-0, 4-0 and 1-0. In those three games, Juventus have shown a a level of concentration and commitment to making sure they defend well throughout the game.
Some might say and point to the fact that Juventus have kept a clean sheet against three teams who are not world-beaters in the likes of Genoa, Catania and Parma. On the flip side, Real Madrid have won two of the three games since last playing against Juventus, with their only loss being the 2-1 outing vs. FC Barcelona in ‘El Clasico’.
Yet even after winning their two games since El Clasico, Real Madrid have looked very shaky defensively. While they scored seven against Sevilla, they gave up three goals as well and could have easily allowed another two to be scored. On Saturday against Rayo Vallecano, Real Madrid jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then gave up two goals, and nearly could have seen the game end in a tie where it not for a few fine saves by Diego Lopez. Those two teams are no world-beaters in their own right.
In a game that Juventus must win on Tuesday night, one can expect that Antonio Conte‘s will come out and attack knowing that anything short of a win will not suffice. Given how well they looked in the 2-1 loss two weeks ago and how poor the Real Madrid defense have looked since that game, optimism and belief that it can win this game from the ‘Vecchia Signora’ is well placed.