Gigi Buffon and Leonardo Bonucci are backing Juventus to rise to the challenge and turn in a performance befitting of the occasion when they run out at the Olympiastadion for tomorrow evening’s Champions League final.
Barcelona head into the competition’s last act as favourites, but the Bianconeri duo claim Juventus also possess individuals capable of providing Luis Enrique’s men with plenty of food for thought.
Speaking to the media in Berlin, Buffon said: “They start off as deserved favourites, because they have great individuals, but I think that a team with Tevez, Bonucci, Pirlo, Marchisio and Pogba won’t just be here to make up the numbers.”
In order to overcome the Catalans, Bonucci insists more of the Bianconeri’s famous collective team spirit will be required, as well as a “great” display in honour of the Heysel victims in the year of the tragedy’s 30th anniversary.
The defender said: “We’re here thanks to the strength of our fantastic group and will need to put in the same type of great performance that we showed against Borussia, which was the game that enabled us to realise just how strong we’d become. We’ll show tomorrow night that we haven’t just travelled here to be sacrificial lambs.
“It’s down to us to fight for every ball and do so also in honour of the Heysel victims. It needs to serve as an added motivation, dedicating the cup to those who lost their lives whilst following their beloved team.”
Following the injury sustained by Giorgio Chiellini in the build-up to the game, Bonucci will find himself partnered by a different central defender tomorrow night, with Andrea Barzagli widely tipped to get the green light.
Whilst admitting the loss of Juventus’ experienced vice captain represents a “big miss” for the team, he is confident Barzagli will prove a more than capable replacement.
“Barzagli’s one of the best in the world and extremely strong in one-on-one scenarios, there are few like him about. Giorgio is a big miss, not just on the pitch but also in the dressing room. Even though he’ll be here in person, his character and drive would have been important in our preparations for the game. We'll try and win it for him and all our fans.”