After three wins in a row between Coppa Italia and Serie A, Juventus open up their new European campaign hosting Ligue 1 side Nantes in the first leg of Europa League playoff.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side have managed to bounce back from a difficult moment: first the 5-1 defeat away at Napoli that demolished any Scudetto’s hope still alive, then the 15 point deduction due to the capital gains process followed by two games in a row without victories in Serie A.
The Bianconeri currently sit in ninth position, 12 points far from the fourth place. The club appealed the ruling but it’s possible that a new deduction could be handed down due to the salary maneuvering case.
The Europe League is their best chance to get into the Champions League as the winner of the competition will win automatic qualification into next season’s group stage.
It has been reported that Juventus’ board openly asked coach Massimiliano Allegri to win the competition and Nantes’ boss Antoine Kombouaré sees the Bianconeri as the main contenders alongside Barcelona, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Juventus haven’t won an European trophy since the European Super Cup in 1997 when they’ve beaten PSG. During Allegri’s first stint, Juventus reach the Champions League final twice, losing to Barcelona in 2015 and to Real Madrid in 2017.
Tonight’s game will be their first Europa League match since May 2014 when they’ve been knocked out by Benfica in the semi-finals.
Results from their last five matches in all competitions:
W W W L D
W W W L D
Leonardo Bonucci is back and this is the most important news for Juventus. The captain has never played in 2023 due to a muscular problem. He trained with the squad over the last two days but it’s unlikely he’ll be a starter.
Paul Pogba is stil out of action, as confirmed by coach Massimiliano Allegri. The Frenchman is struggling with minor muscular problems but it’s stil unclear when he’ll be back in order to play the first game of his season.
Reserve goalkeeper Mattia Perin will miss the game too due to illness together with Arek Milik and Kaio Jorge.
A couple of changes are expected from the starting line-up saw against Fiorentina in the last Serie A game, namely Leandro Paredes and Nicolò Fagioli are likely to take Manuel Locatelli and Federico Chiesa’s places.
Daniel Rugani is also in contention for a spot but Alex Sandro remains the favourite to play in the back three with Danilo and Bremer.
Two Nantes’ key players will miss the clash: Andy Delor did not make the squad due to a small knee sprain while Ignatius Ganago is unavailable following the tragic passing of his 5-year-old daughter.
Juventus (3-5-1-1): Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Alex Sandro; De Sciglio, Fagioli, Paredes, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria; Vlahovic.
Nantes (4-2-3-1): Lafont; Corchia, Girotto, Castelletto, Traore; Sissoko, Moutoussamy; Blas, Mollet, Guessand; Mohamed.
Andrea Agostinelli | GIFN