Although the wait for the Juventus Stadium return of Champions League football is tantalisingly drawing to a close, there are still a pair of important domestic hurdles for both Bayern Munich and the Bianconeri to clear this weekend before attentions can turn entirely to European duties.
While Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve head to Bologna’s Stadio Renato Dall’Ara this evening, Pep Guardiola’s men will have one day fewer to prepare for Tuesday’s Champions League clash as they host 13th-placed Darmstadt at the Allianz Arena on Saturday afternoon (15.00 CET kick-off).
Even with a handful of key figures missing in defence, the form books point resoundingly to a Bayern victory nonetheless.
Not only have the Bavarians won all ten of their home league fixtures this term at an average of three goals a game, they are also in the midst of a 23-match winning run against newly promoted teams since a 2-0 defeat to Kaiserslauten in August 2010.
That said, Bundesliga new boys Darmstadt do boast the third-best away record in the league (behind Bayern and Borussia Dortmund) and as a result should not be underestimated on the road even with five players missing through suspension.
Indeed, if December’s tight and keenly contested German Cup encounter between the two teams, decided by Xabi Alonso’s first-half strike, is anything to go by then Juventus’ Champions League rivals may well have another tough 90 minutes in store.
Only wins will do for both the Bianconeri and the Bavarians this weekend.