Juventus host Bundesliga side Freiburg in the first leg of the Europa League last 16. The Bianconeri got through to the playoff by beating Ligue 1 side Nantes 3-0 after the 1-1 draw in the first leg.
The Bianconeri have lost just one of their last eight games across all competitions but this only loss left a bittersweet taste as they lost away against Roma in their latest league’s game.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side were hit hard, as they currently sit seventh in Serie A, twelve points far from a Champions League spot and waiting for their appeal against the 15-points deduction to be discussed.
Winning the Europa League is more than ever their best chance to get a spot into next season’s Champions League.
Their opponent, though, is going to be a tough one as Freiburg were one of only three sides to go unbeaten in the group stage of the Europa League this season.
They currently sit in fourth place in Bundesliga and on par with Leipzig, fully in contention for a first ever qualification to Champions League.
Results from their last five matches in all competitions:
L W W W D
D D W W W
Juventus’ coach Massimiliano Allegri announced during the press conference that Angel Di Maria will start the game. El Fideo has been the hero for Juventus against Nantes scoring an hat-trick in the second leg.
His partners will be Federico Chiesa and one between Dusan Vlahovic, who has not scored in his last four appearances, and Moise Kean, who received a two-game ban in Serie A after being sent off against Roma.
Paul Pogba is a doubt. The Frenchman has collected his first two appearances of the season against Torino and Roma but on Wednesday, he did not train with the squad. If he’ll be called up, he’ll be starting on the bench.
Skipper Leonardo Bonucci is in contention with Daniele Rugani, Wojciech Szczesny, Daniele Rugani, Bremer, Danilo, Juan Cuadrado, Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot, Filip Kostic; Di Maria, Vlahovic, Chiesa to start his first game since November while Mattia De Sciglio has been ruled out from the game due injury.
Freiburg can count on Italian international Vincenzo Grifo, the 29-year old striker, who has scored 12 goals this season in Bundesliga and with 14 goals overall, he’s the club top scorer across all competitions for the 2022/23 season.
Juventus (3-4-3): Szczesny; Rugani, Bremer, Danilo; Cuadrado, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria, Vlahovic, Chiesa.
Freiburg (3-4-2-1): Flekken; Sildillia, Ginter, Lienhart; Kübler, Eggestein, Höfler, Günter; Doan, Grifo; Höler.
Andrea Agostinelli | GIFN