Juventus will face Nantes tomorrow in the first leg of Europa League playoff. It will be the club’s first game in the competition since May 2014 when Benfica knocked the Bianconeri out in the semi-finals, preventing them to play the final at their home stadium.
For coach Massimiliano Allegri, tomorrow’s game will represent a debut in the competition but it will be a bittersweet first time as Juventus only play in the Europa League because they’ve been eliminated from the Champions League earlier this season, finishing the group stage in third position behind PSG and Benfica. Nevertheless, he will be a man on a mission.
As reported by Fabiana Della Valle, Juventus’ board have asked Allegri to win the Europa League as they see it as their best chance to grab a Champions League spot. The winner of the Europa League will win automatic qualification into next season’s Champions League group stage.
Juventus currently sit in ninth position after the 15 points deduction – 12 points far from the fourth place. The club appealed the ruling but it’s possible that a new deduction could handed down due to the salary maneuvering case.
As of right now, the chances to close the Serie A campaign with a fourth place are minimal and the best way for the Bianconeri to ensure Champions League money is by winning their first international trophy since the European SuperCup win in 1997.
Allegri has never won a trophy outside Italy but he led Juventus to the Champions League final twice, losing to Barcelona in 2015 and to Real Madrid in 2017.
Andrea Agostinelli | GIFN