By Israel Igiri
The UEFA Champions League returns with the quarter-finals, and one of the most intriguing clashes of the round is a repeat of last year’s blockbuster final. Juventus and Real Madrid meet each other once again, this time at the Alianz Stadium as they get set to lock horns in the first leg on Tuesday night.
While the Bianconeri progressed to the last eight with a fantastic comeback win over Spurs at Wembley, the Los Blancos showcased their potentials for a Champions League three-peat by convincingly beating Paris Saint Germain in the last 16.
Revenge will certainly be on the minds of Massimiliano Allegi’s men going into this tie after their 4-1 humiliation in Cardiff last season. The Old Lady want to take their own pound of flesh and become the first side since 2015 to knockout the competition’s reigning champions.
With the Champions League being their only realistic chance of winning a title this season, Madrid who have been impressive in recent weeks will once again be counting on the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been in spectacular form in the competition this season netting 12 times, to inspire another victory at the Allianz Stadium.
Gianluigi Buffon has never tasted Champions League glory and would be so desperate to do that in what looks like his final season with the Serie A champions.
Having being on the losing side in three Champions League finals, he would try all he can to inspire his side to the Semi-final at the expense of Real Madrid.
Going into the game, Zinedine Zidane have a fully healthy squad going into this game, meanwhile, the Allegri will be missing several of their starters including Miralem Pjanic, and Medhi Benatia who are suspended and Federico Bernadeschi who is injured.
* Real Madrid have been eliminated in all four of their two-legged knockout ties against Juventus.
* Cristiano Ronaldo has hit the target in all five of his appearances against Juventus for Real Madrid, scoing seven goals in all.
* Juventus’ overall home recod against Spanish opposition is W15 D9 L2. They are unbeaten in their last nine matches (W5 D4) and have only lost one of their last 25 (W15 D9), against RC Deportivo La Coruna in the 2003/2004 round of 16 (0-1).
* Juventus were the last team to eliminate Real Madrid from the UEFA Champions League, beating the 3-2 on aggregate in the 2014/2015 semi-finals.