It is worth bearing the following the statistic in mind before considering the true importance of the Bianconeri’s second-half revival at Juventus Stadium just under three weeks ago and indeed their chances of reaching the quarter-finals at the expense of Bayern Munich on Wednesday night:
A tale of two legs...
“Only twice – AFC Ajax's defeat of Panathinaikos FC in the 1995/96 semi-finals and FC Internazionale Milano's victory against Bayern in the 2010/11 round of 16 – has a side progressed after a home first-leg loss.”
As Arjen Robben darted into the home penalty area and curled past Gianluigi Buffon to hand Bayern a two-goal lead with 35 minutes to play, Juve faced the prospect of doing what only two teams in the history of the Champions League had ever done before.
Not only did Paulo Dybala and Stefano Sturaro’s strikes to claw Juve level make for easily one of the most pulsating and heart-stopping 45 minutes of the season so far, they also set up a scenario that has seen the Old Lady advance to the next stage of the competition in six of their last seven attempts.
When Martin Atkinson called time in Turin in last month’s 2-2 draw, the salient fact became this: of the seven ties in UEFA competitions contested by Juventus in which they have drawn the first leg at home, the Bianconeri have emerged victorious on six occasions, writing off the opposition’s away goals in five of them.
What’s more, Juve’s six successes have all followed one and other since a 1-1 stalemate in Turin and 2-1 defeat in Wolverhamption against Wolves knocked out of the UEFA Cup at the quarter-final stage in March 1972.
From the eliminations of Ujpest Dozsa to Fiorentina via Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona, here is why Juventus fans have good reason to believe that history will be on their side come 20.45 CET on Wednesday evening.
European Cup 1972/73 Quarter-Finals
The only one of our six examples that featured a goalless first leg, Cestmir Vycpalek’s Juventus made the testing journey east to Budapest to face Hungarian champions Ujpest Dozsa in the knowledge that it would take a perfect performance to eliminate a determind opposition in front of a partisan home crowd.
In unfamiliar surroundings and on an uneven surface, things could not have started any worse for the Bianconeri as Ferenc Bene’s low drive and Andras Toth’s rising half-volley handed Ujpest a commanding two-goal lead with just 13 minutes on the clock.
Juve would immediately half the deficit a quarter of an hour later though, Jose Alfatini’s glancing header from Pietro Anastasi’s excellent cross on the turn leaving the tie perfectly poised going into the break.
And, as the light began to fade in Budapest it would be the visitors that scored the game’s decisive strike shortly after half-time as Anastasi pounced on a mistake from goalkeeper Antal Szentmihályi to expertly guide a diving header into the corner and send the Bianconeri into the semi-finals on away goals.
UEFA Cup 1994/95 Semi-Finals
Juventus’ 4-3 aggregate triumph over Borussia Dortmund in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup semi-finals may well serve as the perfect template for Wednesday night’s mission in Munich: a 2-2 draw in the first leg against a German side with a revered record in European football, followed up by a memorable 2-1 away victory in the return fixture.
Given hope by Jurgen Kohler’s last-gasp equaliser in a breathless home leg in Milan, Marcello Lippi’s Bianconeri completed the job two weeks later at a packed out Westfalenstadion in the fourth of seven 90s epics with Die Borussen.
With all three of the tie’s decisive goals coming in the opening half hour, just like in the first leg it was the visitors that broke the deadlock and from the unlikeliest of sources, Sergio Porrini flicking a superb near-post header into the corner from Roberto Baggio’s set-piece.
The Old Lady’s aggregate advantage and lead on the night would only last a matter of moments however as Julio Cesar’s low free-kick snuck through the wall and past Angelo Peruzzi to put the Germans back in the driving seat.
While there was a touch of fortune about Cesar’s effort, there was nothing of the sort involved in Baggio’s winner just 20 minutes later.
Just off the angle, 25 yards from goal, il Divin Codino stepped up and curled a magnificent deadball into the Dortmund net via the crossbar to score a goal worthy of winning the competition itself to send Juve to a sixth UEFA final in the space of nine years where they would eventually fall to Parma.
UEFA Champions League 1997/98 Quarter-Finals
Few teams go to Ukraine and return with a positive result, let alone a convincing 4-1 victory at the business end of the Champions League. Yet, that is exactly what Juventus did in the 1997/98 quarter-finals on their way to a runners-up place.
After Dynamo Kiev had earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw at the Stadio Delle Alpi, the two teams faced off in the Ukrainian capital two weeks later with the home side marginal favourites to reach the semi-finals.
With the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Alessandro Del Piero and Filippo Inzaghi –who ended the tie with four goals to his name– leading the line however, the Bianconeri knew at the time that they had the offensive strength to outscore anyone in Europe.
Such attacking qualities were displayed in the opening half an hour as the trio combined superbly to set up Inzaghi for part one of his thrilling hat-trick, the Italian tapping home after an outrageous drag back from Zidane have carved open the home defence.
There was to be nothing delicate about Inzaghi’s second and third however, both thumping headers from Zidane and Del Piero corners and the latter would turn scorer on the half-volley moments before full-time to round off a magical away day for the Bianconeri’s loyal away support.
UEFA Champions League 2002/03 Quarter-Finals
While not quite as memorable as the unforgettable 4-3 comeback victory over Real Madrid in the semi-finals, the Bianconeri’s heroics in the previous round against Barcelona still deserve to go down as one of the Turin club’s great Champions League away triumphs.
Unsurprisingly, the occasion is probably best remembered for Pavel Nedved’s magnificent opener shortly after the interval, a goal as technically brilliant as it was crucial for the fate of the tie.
Collecting the ball from Edgar Davids near the left touchline, the Czech surged inside with his trademark determination, held off two challenges and calmly squeezed a shot inside the near post to cancel out Javier Saviola’s away goal scored in Turin.
A Xavi equaliser and a Davids red card seemed to have swung the encounter in Barca’s favour only for Marcelo Zalayeta to prod home from Alessandro Birindelli’s perfect right-wing cross in extra-time and send the 10-men of Juve into the semis.
UEFA Champions League 2004/05 Third Qualifying Round
To be in the position to write history in big finals and rub shoulders with the world’s best, you have to make sure that you have the composure and consistency to get there in the first place.
A shock 2-2 draw in Turin against unfancied Swedish outfit Djurgarden in the first leg of the third qualifying round in early August 2004 threatened to end Juve’s European campaign before it had even begun.
As hoped though, the four-goal draw at home proved only to be a false start for Fabio Capello’s men who turned over the deficit in style to win 4-1 in Sweden.
The scoresheet that night read like a who’s who of Juve history: Del Piero 10’, Trezeguet 33’, Nedved 53’, Trezeguet 86’.
UEFA Europa League 2013/14 Quarter-Finals
The most recent of Juve’s recoveries actually came the closest to home at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence.
Mario Gomez’s strike 11 minutes from time at Juventus Stadium ensured that the Bianconeri had it all to do against Fiorentina in the second leg and as the encounter two weeks later ticked towards full time it looked for all the world that it would be the Viola to advance and face Benfica in the semi-finals.
It was at that moment that a certain Andrea Pirlo stepped up and did something quite remarkable.