Juventus
    Juventus
      22.02.2015 21:36 - in: The team S

      Chiellini eyes further Champions League progression

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      The defender discusses the Bianconeri’s Champions League ambitions: “We have great respect for Dortmund, but also a strong desire to go through to the next round”

      Giorgio Chiellini claims the Bianconeri have plenty of respect for upcoming opponents Borussia Dortmund but says he and his team-mates are determined to take their Champions League adventure beyond the last 16 stage.

      Despite enduring a tough first half of the season on the domestic front, Jurgen Klopp’s men breezed through to the last 16 with four wins in their first four Group D matches and after taking nine points out of nine in recent Bundesliga encounters, Chiellini believes the double-header is evenly poised.   

      Speaking earlier to Rai, the defender began: “Anything can happen in two games of football. Dortmund have welcomed back important players whose injuries have contributed to the first half of their season.

      “We have great respect for them, but also a strong desire to win, go through and keep our European dream alive. We feel stronger and more mature than in previous years.”

      Since seeing off Atalanta on Friday night, Juventus have spent their time studying Dortmund’s threats and working out the best ways to counteract them with their own strengths on Tuesday night in Turin.

      Chiellini was quick to acknowledge the potential difficulties that could arise when the German outfit pour forward on the counter but says the Bianconeri can also look to capitalise on this by exploiting any space left in behind.     

      “The risks are their counter attacks and pace. They have players who thrive in space, although by aiming for pace they also take great risks and leave themselves exposed. This was seen in the first half of the season, when they conceded many goals by leaving huge gaps.”

      Regardless of the tough prospect that lies ahead, the 30-year-old is confident the squad has what it takes to prolong their stay in Europe’s elite competition.  

      “Our group is strong and has grown steadily over these past few years. Now we also want to show how far we’ve come on the European scene. We must approach the Champions League with enthusiasm, but at the same time be aware of the responsibility we have in flying the flag for Italy in Europe.”

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