Juventus
    Juventus
      11.02.2018 13:30 - in: Champions League S

      Juventus vs Tottenham: Match Preview

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      The Bianconeri are braced for their Champions League Last 16 first leg at home to Tottenham Hotspur. Here’s everything you need to know before the match

      ROUTE TO THE KNOCKOUT ROUNDS

      Juventus finished second in Group D on 11 points after doing the double over Olympiacos, taking four points from matches against Sporting Clube de Portugal, and drawing 0-0 at home to Barcelona. 

      That ensured that the Bianconeri extended their unbeaten record in UEFA competition at Allianz Stadium to 26 games and almost five years (since April 2013).

      Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic scored two goals apiece en route to the knockout stages, while Miralem Pjanic, Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi also found the net once each.

      Tottenham, meanwhile, made light work of arguably the toughest Champions League group, picking up 16 points to finish ahead of Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and APOEL. 

      Mauricio Pochettino's side beat Borussia Dortmund both home and away while topping Real Madrid 3-1 at Wembley and earning a hard-fought 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu.

      English marksman Harry Kane found the back of the net six times in the group stage while Heung-Min Son scored three times.

      HEAD-TO-HEADS

      Juventus and Tottenham have never faced off in European competition before, but they are now set to meet for the third and fourth times in total in the space of less than two years.

      In July 2016, the Bianconeri saw off Tottenham 2-1 in Melbourne as part of their Jeep Summer Tour of Australia with Medhi Benatia and Paulo Dybala on target.

      In August 2017, Massimiliano Allegri’s men travelled to Wembley for the final pre-season warm-up with the hosts coming out on top 2-0.

      RECENT FORM

      The Bianconeri have not put a foot wrong so far in 2018 and have now won 11 matches in a row across all competitions following Friday’s 2-0 victory away to Fiorentina.

      Furthermore, Juve have conceded just one goal in 16 games – an all-time club record. Incidentally, their imperious defensive streak began with their last Champions League home fixture: a 0-0 draw with Barcelona on 22 November 2017.

      It has also been a strong start to the calendar year for Tottenham, whose 1-0 win against Arsenal in Saturday’s North London Derby extended their unbeaten run to 12 matches across all competitions.

      That has enabled Spurs to boost their aspirations of another top four finish and qualification for next year’s Champions League, whilst also booking their place in the FA Cup fifth round.

      FORWARD FIREPOWER

      With six goals in his last four matches, Gonzalo Higuain has hit red-hot form at the perfect time for the Bianconeri. Pipita sits on 18 goals for the season in all competitions and he managed to register his landmark 50th strike for the club on Friday against Fiorentina.

      Having scored against Monaco and Real Madrid in the final stages of last season’s Champions League, and claimed further strikes against Olympiacos and Sporting Clube de Portugal this campaign, Mario Mandzukic goes into the Tottenham match with four goals in his last five UCL games.

      If the 2016/17 season was already a special one for Harry Kane after claiming the Premier League’s Golden Boot award (29 league goals) for a second consecutive season, the striker is already well on the way to making 2017/18 even more memorable.

      Against Liverpool on 4 February, Kane struck a stoppage-time penalty to reach 100 Premier League goals and became the first Tottenham player to do so. The 24-year-old England international already has 32 goals in all competitions this season (23 in the Premier League, six in the Champions League and three in the Coppa Italia).

      Tottenham went trigger happy in the UCL group stages, scoring 15 goals in total, and South Korean forward Heung-Min Son notched three of them while Dele Alli chipped in with two strikes and three assists.

      CROSSING PATHS

      Juventus vs Tottenham will see the return of Fernando Llorente at Allianz Stadium. The Spanish scored 27 goals over 92 matches for the Bianconeri between 2013 and 2015, becoming a fans’ favourite in the process. Llorente joined Spurs last summer and scored his first Tottenham goal in the 3-0 Champions League win over APOEL.

      Wojciech Szczesny is certainly no stranger to Spurs having played 132 matches over five years for their North London rivals, Arsenal, between 2010 and 2015. The Polish goalkeeper has a  W4-D2-L2 record against Tottenham.

      Tottenham winger, Erik Lamela, scored 19 goals in 62 Serie A matches for AS Roma between 2011 and 2013 with a W1-D1-L2 record against Juventus. Lamela played in River Plate’s youth setup when Gonzalo Higuain was front-lining the first-team in 2005-06. 

      Former team-mates to mention: Miralem Pjanic and Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyonnais, 2008–11); Blaise Matuidi and Serge Aurier (Paris Saint-Germain, 2014–17).

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