Arguably the standout fixture of the 2020-21 Champions League group stage takes place in Turin on Wednesday night as Juventus host Barcelona in a repeat of the 2015 final.
The pair have not faced each other since Ronaldo’s Juventus switch in July 2018 but a hotly-anticipated meeting in Europe’s top club competition has been put on hold after the Portugal star returned another positive coronavirus test.
Coronavirus will deny fans a much-anticipated reunion between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but it will still be a star-studded occasion between two clubs with legendary figures as their new managers, both looking to make their mark.
The giants have won seven European Cups between them, but after appointing new managers in the summer and being some way off the pace in recent seasons among the game’s elite, they have some way to go before adding to their respective tallies.
Both teams won their opening match in the group, but have been inconsistent this season and neither won in their respective leagues this past weekend.
Wednesday’s mouth-watering showdown will be Juventus’ 200th Champions League outing and victory would see them become the first Italian team to chalk up 100 wins in the competition – both landmarks which they would relish reaching against a team of Barcelona’s quality.
Reason for Juventus vs Barcelona Predictions:
- Both teams scored in three of Juventus’ last five matches.
- Juventus drew 1-1 in two of their last three fixtures.
- Both teams scored in three of Barcelona’s last four games.
- Barca won just one of their last four assignments.
- This will be the 14th match between Juventus and Barcelona in competitive football.
- Juventus’ tally of six home games without ever losing versus Barcelona is their joint-best total against a side in European competition, alongside their six unbeaten matches versus Atletico Madrid.
- Barcelona have only suffered one defeat in their last 17 UEFA Champions League group stage games on the road (W10 D6), going unbeaten in each of the last 10.
- Juventus’ victory against Dynamo Kiev on MD1 was their 99th UEFA Champions League victory. This match with Barcelona is their 200th in the Champions League.
- Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored more UEFA Champions League group stage goals than any other player in the competition (69 in 73 games). Only Cristiano Ronaldo (24) has more group stage assists than the Argentinian (22).
Both Juventus and Barcelona have shown enough defensive lapses in recent weeks to suggest we should expect goals to be scored at either end in Turin on Wednesday.
With just two clean sheets in their last five matches, Juve have been uncharacteristically sloppy in their own third over the past month, and Barcelona have the pedigree and class to take advantage of any holes they identify.
This will be the 14th competitive meeting between these two sides, 11 of which have come in UEFA competition, with Barcelona just about edging the head-to-head record.
Juventus have failed to even score in the last three meetings, but they are unbeaten in their six previous home games against Barca – their joint-best undefeated total against a side in European competition.
The two sides were most recently paired together in the 2017-18 group stages, when Barcelona won 3-0 at Camp Nou and drew 0-0 in Turin.
Barcelona still have quite a few of the players that won the 2015 final against Juventus, but as a team they look a million miles away from being able to scale the heights of European football again at the moment.
Juventus have not been in great form themselves as they continue to find their feet under Pirlo, but they seem in less trouble than Barcelona and so we are backing them to come out on top on Wednesday, even without Ronaldo.
Our prediction: Juventus 2-1 Barcelona