Juventus
    Juventus
      27.08.2015 20:00 - in: Champions League S

      A look at the Bianconeri’s group D rivals

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      England's Manchester City, Spain's Sevilla and Germany's Borussia Monchengladbach will all pose intriguing challenges for Juventus in Group D

      Massimiliano Allegri’s men will have to be at their very best to advance to the knockout stages for a second consecutive season. The Bianconeri's Group D opponents Manchester City, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach all enter this season’s Champions League with points to prove in Europe’s premier club competition. 

      Manchester City

      Having conquered the English game twice in 2010/11 and 2013/14, the Champions League is the only significant piece of silverware missing from the Blues’ trophy cabinet.

      Last season’s Premier League runners-up broke their attendance record (54,331) in an impressive 3-0 win over title rivals Chelsea last week and the City of Manchester Stadium awaits European football with great anticipation for the sixth consecutive season.

      The Citizens will be wanting to go at least a step or two further on their showing in the previous campaign where they fell at the first knockout round to Barcelona, equaling their best finish in the competition. Chilean boss Manuel Pellegrini will look to Argentinian star Sergio Aguero, who notched six goals last term, to fire his side out of the group stages once more.

      Juventus will meet Manchester City for the fifth and sixth time in Europe, yet their upcoming double header will be the first in the Champions League. The two sides were inseparable in their most recent encounters in the group stages of the 2010/11 edition of the Europa League: a pair of 1-1 draws the result on that occasion. 

      Sevilla

      In a twist of fate, this evening’s draw set up a fascinating early reunion with Fernando Llorente, whose departure for the south of Spain was finalised earlier today.

      A 3-2 win over Ukrainian club Dnipro in Warsaw in May made Sevilla the first side to qualify for the Champions League as winners of the Europa League and they will be aiming to translate that success into a third appearance in the knockout round.

      The Andalusians will be competing at Europe’s top table for the fourth time and Unai Emery’s men will fancy their chances in Group D, having taken Barcelona all the way in a thrilling 5-4 defeat in August’s UEFA Super Cup in Tblisi.

      Despite losing Colombian striker Carlos Bacca to Milan, whose goals propelled them to last season’s Europa League trophy, Spanish coach Emery still has a wealth of dynamic and energetic attacking options at his disposal in the form of Kevin Gameiro, Yevhen Konoplyanka and Ciro Immobile. 

      In taking his side to Spain, Massimiliano Allegri will be the first Juventus manager to visit the atmospheric 45,000 seater Estadio Roman Sanchez Pizjuan as the two clubs have never crossed paths in their respective histories. 

      Borussia Monchengladbach

      Having been knocked out 4-2 on aggregate to the Germans in their last European meeting in the 1975/76 Cup Winners’ Cup, the Bianconeri will be looking to exact belated revenge on Lucien Favre’s Borussia Monchengladbach side.

      Alongside Astana and Gent as one of three debutants in the 2015/16 group stages, Monchengladbach were the surprise package of last season’s Bundesliga, finishing in third place behind Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg.

      Runners-up in 1976/77, the German outfit will go into all six of their ties with nothing to lose. Met by a passionate home crowd at the 54,000 capacity Borussia Park, Juventus, Manchester City and Sevilla will have to be firing on all cylinders to leave northwest Germany with all three points.

      Gladbach’s remarkable 2014/15 was built on a rock-solid rearguard that conceded just 26 league goals, second only to the champions Bayern.

      So in order to qualify for the knockout stages in their maiden Champions League campaign, Swiss manager Favre will need key figures in his backline such as Oscar Wendt, Yann Sommer and Tony Jantschke to repeat last season’s defensive stability and consistency.

      Further forward a midfield bursting with goals and assists containing Thorgan Hazard, Granit Xhaka, Patrick Hermann and Raffael has the potential to cause problems for all of their Group D rivals. 

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