Pep Guardiola may never have faced the Bianconeri before during a coaching career spanning almost a decade, but he was keen to make it clear from the outset that the Old Lady’s achievements over the last four and a half seasons had not escaped his attentions.
Speaking to the media in a packed press conference hall at Juventus Stadium, the Bayern Munich manager began: “I’ve admired the work done by Juventus over the years. They didn’t start the campaign well, but now they’ve shown excellent team qualities again and this is, without doubt, a very interesting game.
“They have considerable strength in depth across the park and plenty of experience especially in their backline. In many ways, they embody the great Italian sporting qualities of grit, determination and a responsibility to defend when they need to.”
While accepting that Tuesday night’s match-up against Massimiliano Allegri’s men represented a significant challenge, “typical of any game in the Champions League last 16,” he was under few allusions as to his objective for the first leg in Turin.
“We’re setting out to play well, score a couple of goals and to take home a result that gives us the best opportunity to win the tie back in Munich.
“That said, we know that it won’t be easy, given Juve’s form. They rarely ever concede. In fact, seven matches have passed since they last let in a goal.
“We’ve therefore been thinking about altering our approach in order to overcome their defensive strengths and to make up for our injury problems in the backline.”