It is do or die for Juventus as the Bianconeri today will face Nantes away in Europa League playoff second leg with the obligation to win.
Unfortunately for Massimiliano Allegri’s side, the 1-1 draw in the first leg put them in a difficult position of having to win away from home. They have lost each of their three away games in this season Champions League’s group stage and overall they have won just one of their last nine matches in Europe.
The picture for The Bianconeri gets better if you take in consideration only Serie A games, with Juventus winning all of their last three matches without conceding a goal.
If they fail to win, it will be Juventus’ fourth consecutive elimination in European competitions in the last-16 stage or prior.
This is the worst case scenario for Juventus as they will blow their best chance to qualify for the next Champions League. In Serie A they sit in seventh position with a 12-points gap form the fourth place.
On the other hand Nantes have lost their last Ligue 1 game 3-1 away at Lens but they’re on the verge of making history as the French side have not progressed from a knockout stage tie in a major European competition since the 2000-01 season.
Results from their last five matches in all competitions:
L D W W W
W D W W W
Juventus will miss both Federico Chiesa and Paul Pogba, alongside Arek Milik and Fabio Miretti.
Chiesa has not trained with the squad since he picked up the minor muscle problem that ruled him out of the Spezia game on Sunday and that has put him in doubt for the derby against Torino scheduled for Tuesday.
Pogba is getting closer to his second Juventus’ debut: over the last two days he has trained with the squad, trying to convince Massimiliano Allegri to call him but the coach had other plans as he left the midfielder in Italy so that he could work on his fitness levels.
Dusan Vlahovic has scored three goals in his last four appearances but surprisingly Moise Kean is the favourite to be the lone striker with Angel Di Maria playing as number 10.
PSG loanee Leandro Paredes is likely to start from the bench with Nicolò Fagioli and Adrien Rabiot playing next to Manuel Locatelli.
As confirmed by Nantes’ coach Antoine Kombouaré during yesterday’s press conference, Andy Delort, Ignatius Ganago and Moses Simon are all returning to action, although Quentin Merlin remained out of the squad.
Nantes (3-5-2): Lafont; Centonze, Castelletto, Girotto, Pallois, Coco; Sissoko, Chirivella, Moutoussamy; Blas, Mohamed.
Juventus (3-5-1-1). Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Alex Sandro; De Sciglio, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria; Kean.
Andrea Agostinelli I GIFN